Keri Schadler’s fascination with science started with toy chemistry sets and backyard experiments. “I’ve been a total science nerd since I was a kid,” says Schadler, a graduate student in Cancer Biology at MD Anderson.
Now, Schadler studies the development of blood vessels in tumors, particularly Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer that strikes children and adolescents. Schadler’s personal mission is to work on science that helps people, and she sees the potential when she observes patients in a pediatric clinic twice each month.
“When I see one kid frown because he is tired of being sick or one parent cry because she’s lost hope for her child, I am motivated to go straight to work in the lab,” she says.
Schadler’s career goals include directing her own lab at an institution with strong basic science and clinical programs. And while she loves what she does, she knows she will have to do some juggling in the years ahead.
“Research is not an 8 to 5 job,” she says. “I eventually want to get married and have kids, but I know it will be tough given the demands of my career. At MD Anderson, I’m fortunate to work with many women who prove it is possible to be both a great researcher and a great mom.”
Schadler says she’s amazed every day by the people she works with at MD Anderson. “The people here are so passionate about what they do,” she says. “Everybody cares so much. It’s inspiring to be around people who are so inspired.”
Among the lessons she’s learned at MD Anderson is how big a job healing cancer is. “I knew cancer was complex, but I had no idea of the level of its complexity until my graduate experience here,” she says. “Cancer is bigger than I ever imagined.”