Tzvi Pollock

Tzvi Pollock headshot

Tzvi Pollock is a postdoctoral research fellow in the John Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The lab specializes in combatting pediatric infections. Tzvi has a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in microbiology.  

How did you first become interested in science? 

My interest in science began at a very early age. As my parents tell the story, at least, they brought me to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. when I was two years old. Not quite old enough yet to appreciate the research on display, I was nonetheless enraptured by the massive dinosaur fossils that loomed overhead! (So enraptured, in fact, that my mom recalls me throwing a tantrum when we had to leave.) Like many kids, I was (and remain!) a certified dinosaur-fanatic. Over time, my interests blossomed and diversified to include all sorts of other fields of science. I don’t think I’ll ever lose my fascination with dinosaurs, though!

Who was your favorite science teacher growing up and why?

My favorite science teacher growing up was my high school biology teacher. While she was a good instructor, the main thing for which I’ll always remember her is setting me up with a research internship during my last two summers of high school. That experience was able to open new avenues to me I’d never dreamed of, and I’ll always be truly grateful for that.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career related to science? 

While I’ve been interested in science my whole life, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in biomedical research when I first got an opportunity to conduct experiments in a real, professional research lab. The experience of forming a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, then sitting down with fellow scientists to determine where the truth might lie is so exciting. As soon as I experienced it, I knew I wanted to keep chasing that feeling for the rest of my life.

What advice do you have for students interested in a STEM career? 

I have two big pieces of advice for anyone interested in a STEM career: 
1. Go out there and get experience! That doesn’t necessarily mean getting an internship or job at a lab; experience can be found everywhere. Take part in your local science fair, read whatever science or engineering books you can find in your library, or even just take up birdwatching! All of these activities can give you experience asking and answering questions which is the core of scientific thought. 
2. Try to find an ally in your pursuits! This can be a parent, a science teacher, or other mentor who can help guide you to excel in STEM.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

The best part of my job is that “rush” when your experiment works. You’ve gotten evidence of some new answer to your question, and now, you get to share that with the world.