Kat Schrodinger: Grad Student, Gene Therapy

What are you up to today?
I'm trying to find a coffee shop. I'm meeting up with a friend — I'm not from here.

Where are you from?

So you're traveling around — are you visiting other places as well?
Yeah, Miami, Los Angeles, New York.

What's your occupation?
I'm a grad student — I'm studying gene therapy.

What drew you to that field?
I've always been curious — it's a pioneering field and the idea behind the whole thing is to help people, fix diseases that are not fixable.

What's something interesting in that field that you've seen lately?
So there has been a surgery performed — usually when you need an organ donor, it's really difficult to find one and you have to wait in line until you get a proper organ. So what they did, they came up with the idea. They take a corpse organ, they clean it of old cells and antibodies, everything that would belong to the previous person, and they leave it as a clean carcass. After that, they take a sample of the patient — like a fibroblast — put it on the carcass, which is stripped of all immunological or genetic material. They put it in the bioreactor and leave it there for several days. After that, the thing proliferates, grows the material and then you have an organ for a patient. That way, it won't be rejected, you don't have to take immunosuppressants, you don't have to go on disability, it's your organ!

Wow, that's awesome! I had no idea you could clean an organ like that.
I know! The surgery I was telling you about is actually for a trachea surgery. And often what happens if you have stenosis of the trachea, there is not much doctors can do for a patient and the patient dies, unless there's a subsequent device that's installed in the patient's throat. And you have to leave it there because you have to breathe somehow.
But now they have this breakthrough procedure!

What other things are you planning to explore while you're out here?
I'm going to go sailing tomorrow, and tonight I'm hoping to get to The View at the Marriott — I heard it's really nice, and I read some good reviews about it.

Kat Schrodinger

What other things have you seen lately that have caught your interest?
I think I like fashion! [laughs] I love San Francisco style.

How would you describe San Francisco style?
It's diverse but there is a pattern to color. Not a lot of bright colors, except for that bright red dress that I see across the street there. She's probably not from San Francisco! [laughs] But usually people prefer colors that are more toned down, like beige, brown, black, gray, dark green — colors like that. And everyone wears comfortable clothing. A lot of cotton, I guess.

I also I wanted to ask you about your personal style — love your hat color!
This hat is Brixton. I think it's unisex, so man, woman, anyone.

And I love this lightweight shirt — is it silk?
It's silk, I can never pronounce it — it's habotai silk. It's a Japanese silk.

I love your studded boots, too!
These are Gucci — they're very comfortable!

How would you describe your own personal style?
Usually I prefer something comfortable — I like the style of San Francisco, but then I also love hats and hair accessories so my style is more like — I have no idea! Whatever I see, I put on! [laughs]

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