Brilliance strikes: The tales of Liz Hammock

Originally published August 2005.


On June 10th, Science published the final chapter of Liz Hammock’s thesis work at Emory in an article entitled “Microsatellite instability generates diversity in brain and sociobehavioral traits.” The impact of this paper was immediately evident when the New York Times included an article on it the same day. This is no real surprise, however. Her former lab mate, Miranda Lim, who obtained her Ph.D. from Emory last year, had the following glowing words to say about Liz: “Liz is one of the eminent scientists of our time! She exudes scientific energy from every pore, and is one of the few true nerds who gets even smarter with alcohol. She is a study in dichotomies: Incredibly focused on her experiments, yet she has millions of new ideas every day. Extremely hard-working in the lab, yet no one can keep up with her nightlife. Idealistic about the big picture, yet she can troubleshoot the day to day problems. Brilliant and articulate, but put a microphone in front of her and the this former farm girl will break out in honky– tonk song. I have been so lucky to go through grad school with Liz and share her ideas about science, life, the universe, and more. She will have a brilliant career wherever she goes, and have a ton of fun doing it!!!”

sulcus14Liz’s advisor, Larry Young, also had some nice words. “I am honored to have been Liz’s advisor. Liz was one of those students who had more exciting ideas for experiments than one person could possibly perform in a life time, which made being her advisor a bit challenging times. After every seminar she attended, I could expect her in my office, with a huge grin, saying “I got an idea for an experiment… wouldn’t it be really cool if we…”  She has a stellar career ahead of her.

Liz completed her Ph.D. in late February and has since begun her post-doctoral work at Vanderbilt University where she is investigating the roles of oxytocin and vasopressin in the formation of cortical columns and development of autism. Congratulations Liz!



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