Grief: Stories about dealing with loss

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In this week's episode, our storytellers' lives and careers in science are shaped by a great loss in their lives.

Part 1: When neuroscientist Macayla Donegan's partner is diagnosed with brain cancer, she's forced to make some tough decisions.

Part 2: When Anant Paravatsu struggles in school, his mother comes to his rescue.

Macayla Donegan is a recovering academic neuroscientist who just lost their spouse to brain cancer, and lost a career she had worked a long time for at the same time. She has a really cute dog if you need a pick me up after that bummer of a sentence.

Anant Paravastu holds bachelor's (MIT, 1998) and Ph.D. degrees (UC Berkeley, 2004) in chemical engineering. His Ph.D. research with Jeffrey Reimer focused on using lasers to control nuclear spin polarization in the semiconductor GaAs. From 2004 to 2007, he worked as a postdoc at the Laboratory of Chemical Physics at NIH with Robert Tycko, where he learned to apply nuclear magnetic resonance to structural biology. Paravastu's early structural biology work focused on amyloid fibrils of the Alzheimer's β-amyloid peptide. He was part of the team and community that showed that amyloid fibril formation is a complex phenomenon: individual peptides exhibit multiple aggregation pathways capable of producing distinct aggregated structures. Between 2008 and 2015, Paravastu worked as an assistant professor at Florida State University and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Presently, his laboratory at Georgia Tech pursues three general lines of inquiry: 1) structural analysis of rationally designed peptides and peptide analogs that assemble into nanostructured materials, 2) nonfibrillar aggregates of the Alzheimer's amyloid-β peptide, and 3) aggregation due to misfolding of proteins driven away from their natural folds.

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