Caitlyn Cardetti holding a Breakneck Point Trail Runs badge. Photo provided by Caitlyn Cardetti
Caitlyn Cardetti holding a Breakneck Point Trail Runs badge. Photo provided by Caitlyn Cardetti

Caitlyn Cardetti is a PhD Candidate in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Stony Brook University in New York. Her research focuses on RNA processing in human mitochondria. Her other interests include promoting #WomenInSTEM, #SciPol and running. You can often find her on Twitter (@CaitlynCardetti) or over on her blog

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes, Zinc the hamster! I never thought I’d be an adult with a hamster but she really does make the perfect companion for a grad student (aka cheap and low maintenance).

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes! Some I’ve bought for myself and people often gift me them. My favorites I bought for myself are throw pillows that have lines like “Talk Science to Me” on them. And last year for my birthday, my friend bought me the cutest set of mini flask/beaker shot glasses.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

A bit of Spanish

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Honestly, I don’t want to be anything else which is why I am still here getting my PhD.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

South America

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Slow down time

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The book “Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life” by Nick Lane

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Sleep in, go for a run, take nice brunch at home with my partner, hang out (also what I do or at least try to do most Sundays)

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Reading, fresh air, and saltwater.
“The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears, or the ocean.”

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Wrestling with Behavioral Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Public Conversation – it taught me about social constructs and the limits of how our genes make us us

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

Depends what age you ask: astronaut, archaeologist, botanist.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I don’t want to be anywhere else than where I am now – I love that academia let’s me learn, play and explore

19 What got you excited in science?

I’ve just always loved it! But I love continuing to learn more about how my body works

20 What excites you about science now?

That we now are really digging into the details and nuances of the different fields

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

cheese and crackers

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can touch my tongue to my nose

23 What is your favorite game?

I can’t pick just one but it would definitely be a board game

24 What is the last book you read?

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

It never hurts to ask.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Most decisions in life don’t have a wrong or right answer, just go with your gut on what feels right for you

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Hit the trails (running or hiking)

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Midnight Run (gotta love those 80’s movies)

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

I got nothing weird for you here, but I definitely carry around lots of practical goodies

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Can I go with a trilogy? The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Mac & cheese

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

March 6 aka my birthday!

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

Breathing controls the pH of your blood.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Moving water (rain, waves, gurgling creeks, whatever)

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am always challenging myself by pushing my comfort zones.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Apricity – I also love the feeling this describes – the warmth of the sun in winter

42 What is your proudest moment?

The time I got the company I was working at to donate an old spectrophotometer to my undergrad university

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Paper birch

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The beach

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Midichlorians, yes the ones from Star Wars, were inspired by mitochondria.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?