Film strip of three photos featuring Melanie Ott

Melanie provides insight into the importance of mentoring, and reveals her passion for yoga.


What brought you to Gladstone?
The opportunities around HIV research in San Francisco. Gladstone was and remains one of the best places in the world to do HIV research.

Why is mentoring important?
Mentoring is important because it brings out the best in people. I love seeing my trainees grow, evolve, and blossom. I want them to become strong scientists, confident thinkers, and resilient citizens.

What is your favorite aspect of mentoring?
The personal contact with my trainees and learning about them, finding out what they like and dislike, what they’re good at, and where they need support.

Do you have a mentoring mentor?
I think mentoring is a natural instinct of mine, but I also had excellent role models along the way, something that I only fully appreciated later in my career.

What do you like most about your job?
Discovering cool science and hanging out with my people.

What is the focus of your lab at Gladstone?
We study how viruses interact with the host and what we can do to strengthen defense mechanisms and weaken dependency pathways from the host to the pathogen.

What or who influenced your decision to work in science?
My first experience seeing DNA precipitate; I thought this was magic. Coming from the clinic, I also loved not being restrained by what I had learned and having the opportunity to discover something new.

What do you do when you are not working?
I am a passionate Bikram yogi.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I’d love to learn to play the cello.

What is your hidden/unique talent?
I am a pretty adventurous cook.

Name one thing that not many people know about you.
I worked with Heiko and Eva Braak in Frankfurt when they discovered the Alzheimer staging scale.

If you could meet any scientist from any point in time, who would it be and why?
I very much liked Eva Braak. She was an unsung hero, a tireless worker, and the quieter part of that duo. She unfortunately died early, and never enjoyed the recognition she deserved. I would love to talk to her now about her passion for science and her role as the female science partner.

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