My name is Dr. Eryn Slankster-Schmierer.
I attended graduate school at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I earned my Master of Science (2011) working in the field of genetics; I created DNA markers for a plant, Brassica rapa, that I used to teach genetic principles for seven years as a graduate teaching assistant. My doctoral research focused on a vascular disease model in mice, and an autologous stem cell therapy to treat it. (My PhD dissertation, Role of the immune system following surgical induction of critical limb ischemia in a mouse model, can be found here.)
And somewhere in there (November 29, 2013), I went vegan. (Read that story here)
In 2016, I gave up mammalian models, picked up my life and moved to the high desert of Reno, Nevada where I spent four years as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Nevada, Reno. I studied how insulin and GABA signaling affects the olfactory circuit in fruit flies.
In 2019, I also started my own vegan business, Helicase Soapery, as a creative outlet and to combat the crippling debt of the American education system.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, it took with it my project funding and left me “unemployed.” I spent exactly one year soul searching, taking courses, and researching whole-food plant-based nutrition to realign myself as an ethical scientist. A blessing in disguise that realigned me with who I was.
Today, and I am the Regulatory Testing Specialist for Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, an organization I am truly proud and honored to serve. PCRM works toward saving and improving human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research. My role will be to influence government and international policy on animal testing to promote alternative methods and decrease animal use while coordinating tools to teach scientists how to transition to these more effective, human relevant models.
While my experiences seem contradictory, I’m grateful for the experiences, the amazing mentors, the education, and friends who have contributed to my journey.
*The views expressed by The Ethical Scientist are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of previous or current employers.
Slankster, E., Kollala, S., Baria, D., Dailey-Krempel, B., Jain, R., Odell, S. R., & Mathew, D. (2020). Mechanism underlying starvation-dependent modulation of olfactory behavior in Drosophila larva. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 3119. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60098-z
Slankster, E., Odell, S. R., & Mathew, D. (2019). Strength in diversity: functional diversity among olfactory neurons of the same type. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10863-018-9779-3
Slankster, E., Lee, C., Hess, K. M., Odell, S., & Mathew, D. (2019). Effect of gut microbes on olfactory behavior of Drosophila melanogaster larva. BIOS, 90(4), 227. https://doi.org/10.1893/0005-3155-90.4.227
Clark, D. A., Kohler, D., Mathis, A., Slankster, E., Kafle, S., Odell, S. R., & Mathew, D. (2018). Tracking Drosophil Larval Behavior in Response to Optogenetic Stimulation of Olfactory Neurons. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 133, 4–9. https://doi.org/10.3791/57353
Slankster, E. E., Chase, J. M., Jones, L. a, & Wendell, D. L. (2012). DNA-Based Genetic Markers for Rapid Cycling Brassica Rapa (Fast Plants Type) Designed for the Teaching Laboratory. Frontiers in Plant Science, 3(June), 118. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2012.00118