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Dr. Marina Holz, assistant professor of biology, received a BS degree in microbiology and immunology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and graduated with a PhD in cell biology from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Holz teaches courses in cell and molecular biology, principles of biology for majors, and biotechnology.


1. What did you do before you joined YU as a faculty member?
Before joining YU, I was a PhD student and research fellow at Harvard Medical School. I was actually supposed to start at YU in September 2006, but that coincided with the birth of my first son. The administration graciously allowed me to postpone my start date to January 2007.

2. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?
I love helping students map out their career choices. There is so much potential and it is wonderful to envision the unlimited possibilities through their eyes.

3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I am an incorrigible science fiction addict; I’d read and watch almost anything with space travel. If I wasn’t a scientist, I’d be a science fiction writer.

4. What is your goal as a scientist, and what is your goal as a teacher?
As a scientist, I work to elucidate cellular processes that go awry in human diseases. As a teacher, I’d like to help my students to see the big picture. Sometimes students get so involved in one topic that they’re working on in the lab, or studying for a test, that they are unable to see how it fits into the larger mosaic of biology. Additionally, many of the skills needed in research, like problem-solving skills, communication and writing and presentation experience are the same skills that are necessary to be successful in many diverse fields such as medicine, finance and law.

5. What would your current and former YU students be surprised to learn about you?
I had a 4.0 GPA in college. Also, when I counsel students to take the harder courses to remain competitive for graduate schools, I don’t think they realize I’ve taken an easy course or two in my college days. My college offered several easy courses that we called “bird courses.” They were affectionately dubbed “Moons for goons” (astronomy), “Rocks for jocks” (geology) and “Physics for poets.” I took “Clapping for credit” (yes, music for the tone-deaf).