The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Students Reflect on Meeting Nobel Price-Winning Geneticist

A 2017 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Michael Young presented a campus-wide lecture titled "Genes that Regulate Sleep and Circadian Rhythms," visited a biology class, and interacted with some of the University’s most-promising scientists over lunch.

November 5, 2018

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing & Communications

Dr. Michael Young
Dr. Michael Young (second from right) with University of New Haven students.

For Justin Morano ’19 M.S., a second-year student in the University of New Haven’s graduate program in cellular and molecular biology, meeting Nobel Prize-winning biologist Michael Young provided an important affirmation for the emerging scientist.

"He explained that the answers we seek in research may come to us on their own terms, but it is up to us to stay determined," Morano said. "As a student in the early stages of my research career, this stuck out, as I was able to empathize to some degree. I was relieved to hear from someone so successful that we should not be misled by failures."

Morano was one of several students who had the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Young during his day on campus last month, which also included a University-wide lecture and a visit to a biology class. The program was presented by the University’s Henry Voegeli Seminar Series and the Alvine Life Sciences Innovation Professional Enrichment Lecture Series.

"It was inspiring to meet someone of his caliber because it gives you more energy and enthusiasm to work on something you love."Gauri Gaur ’19 M.S.

There was not an empty seat in Bucknall Theater in Dodds Hall as Dr. Young discussed his work related to the discoveries of genes that regulate sleep and circadian rhythms. Director of the Laboratory of Genetics at The Rockefeller University, Dr. Young has received many awards for his work and is member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

"I think that’s part of the natural process of science," said Young. "You’re always getting a piece of the picture when you do an experiment. Real biology, for me, is much more interesting than the hypothesis I came up with for how my ideal experiment would work."

Following the lecture, Dr. Young answered questions from students and faculty members, discussing his work and the nature of scientific discovery. Gauri Gaur ’19 M.S. says she was fascinated by his detailed and thoughtful answers to the questions.

"It was inspiring to meet someone of his caliber because it gives you more energy and enthusiasm to work on something you love," said Gaur, who is pursuing a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology. "I was also in awe of all his experiences and the information he had to offer regarding his years of research. He had great advice to offer students regarding our future plans for further education and future research."