Rachel A. Ross, MD, PhD is an assistant professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and part of the Psychiatric Research Institute of Montefiore and Einstein in the Bronx, NY. Her primary academic interest is focused on understanding how stress influences food-based decision making and metabolic outcomes, and how certain stigmatized bodily and behavioral responses to external and internal stressors can lead to disease states, such as anorexia nervosa or obesity. She maintains a clinical practice seeing patients who struggle with these issues with a trauma-informed perspective. Dr. Ross studied bioengineering at Cornell University, and received her MD and PhD in molecular pharmacology from Einstein. Dr. Ross completed a research residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, followed by a post doctoral fellowship in basic neuroscience and endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, after which she became the associate director for the Physician Scientist Training Program of the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency, helping other psychiatry trainees pursue research as part of their careers. She is passionate about education, mentorship, social and racial justice, and asking good questions with science. For more information about her systems neuroscience research on the interface of stress and metabolism, check out her website at rosslab.einsteinmedneuroscience.org

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


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

Guidance Counselor

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?

To see my family

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


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

watch Maniac on netflix. Its a sci/fi dystopian fantasy that combines tech, neuroscience, and psychiatry in a very insightful and beautiful way.

read James Baldwin (reality) and NK Jemisin (fantasy) for the narrative profoundness of life.

listen to music that gets you moving (for me, that’s currently Fiona Apple Under the table, Janelle Monae The way you make me feel, Sergio Mendes Magalenha, and Mary J Blige Just fine)

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

go for a swim; read, rest, or meditate in my hammock; hit the farmers market for some good food to cook up and eat outdoors with friends; dance party

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

water. chocolate. friends.

15 What beverage gives you life?


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

Their eyes were watching G-d was the first adult novel that I read that gave a strong female voice

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

a mad scientist in a basement

18 What drives you and keeps you going?


19 What got you excited in science?

It was the best way to answer all the wacky questions I came up with, which at the time were primarily concerned with my pet fish.

20 What excites you about science now?

same! but also now the idea that knowledge is power, and science is the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

no guilt in true pleasure!

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

singing on key

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

Joan Didion The year of magical thinking

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

“you can count everything, but not everything counts”

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

sky diving

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

pay attention to what you like, and don’t like, not just what other people tell you you’re good at.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

recognize that there is stress, then let it go. For me, this is usually a bath

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Indian matchmaking

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


31 What is your favorite animal?

my friends’ dogs

32 What is your favorite book?

skinny legs and all by tom robbins (or zora neale as above)

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

chocolate chip cookies or popcorn

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

vernal equinox

35 What is your favorite plant?

lily of the valley

36 What is your favorite science fact?

mice can be pseudopregnant, and there are measurable physiologic changes in response to the “belief” that they are pregnant

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

fresh lilac flowers on the tree

39 What is your favorite sound?

a night full of crickets in a rice paddy

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

my sense of smell and taste

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

tohu vavohu (2 words technically, hebrew)

42 What is your proudest moment?

being able to comfort my grandmother when my grandfather died

43 What kind of tree would you be?


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

access to nature

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

i still get nervous before i give a talk

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

Ayana Jordan @drayanajordan