Meet the scholar, Andrea, who wears comfy but stylish shoes while running around the lab.

Tell us about your research? lurap_dress9_zpslbir3uvc

I am starting my fifth year in the PhD program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCLA, and my research has been focused on protein biochemistry – particularly biochemical characterization of protein arginine methyltransferases in humans. I have been able to characterize the activity type and identify substrates and roles for these enzymes, which can have several implications in cancer and other diseases!

What’s the best thing about being an academic researcher?

I think the best thing about being an academic researcher is the freedom to come up with hypotheses and testing them – unlike in industry positions where you usually have to test what the company wants, in academia, if you have an idea for a possible mechanism or something sparks your interest from the literature, as long as you have the resources in the lab, you can test it yourself! It’s just too bad we don’t have as much funding/don’t pay graduate students and researchers more!

What book(s) are you reading?

I’m reading Worm book/atlas as I have started a project on the nematode C. elegans and I am trying to learn as much as I can for my experiments (hahah!). Other than that I read a lot of research publications, and if I have time (usually just for long airplane rides) I will read for fun – I am still trying to finish the last book in the Divergent series – it’s been 2 years now!

scarf_and_zara_zoom15_zps7wsbqw2yWhat style are you comfortable in?

I love casual comfort style or dressy – you will either find me in boots, jeans and a cute top at work styled with statement accessories, or a cute dress on the weekends with friends. I love to reuse/restyle pieces, so it’s always interesting to create a new outfit!

Most favourite item in your wardrobe

A simple little black dress – it is so versatile as I can dress it up or down – for a fancy event you can style it with statement accessories and heels – or for a casual night out with friends can be easily paired with accessories, a light jacket and sneakers/boots!

What are your favourite fashion brands?

I really love Zara – their pieces are so classic and much better quality than the some of the stores I shop at. I also really love Topshop.

Where do you shop for your outfits (stores & cities)?

I love to shop at many stores – my go-tos are Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, H&M, Topshop, Zara, Mango, and department stores! These are all found in Los Angeles where I live, so it is rather easy to get inspiration and buy new pieces!

Whose style inspires you?

Fashion bloggers that I follow on Instagram inspire me – Not only are they “real people,” they also have similar tastes and shop at the stores that I shop at – so I know that I can get a great look without spending a lot of money on designer pieces that a lot of celebrities wear!

If you could ask three (academic juggernauts) for dinner, who would they be, and why?

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein – just being in the same room as some of the greatest minds that have changed the course of knowledge and technology – it would be awesome to pick their brains!

If your research were a fashion item, what would it be?

Some comfy (but stylish) shoes – I am always on the go and running around lab – like my project, there’s always something further to test and ask, so yes, some comfy shoes that still look great and able to do the job!

What would you spend your last cash on?

A nice dress that I can style to wear over and over to different things – casual, sitting at home outfit, to a dressy presentation event. That way I can get the most of my money!

What academic events or seminars will you be attending in the next 6 months?

I am going to be attended two conferences in April – I am organizing a symposium session at the Experimental Biology 2016 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Meeting in San Diego, so I will be there networking, hosting a symposium, and listening to cutting edge talks. I have been to the meeting in the past and really enjoyed the atmosphere and science there, so I am excited to head there again! I am also going to be at a departmental retreat/meeting in the mountains outside of LA, where I will be able to give a talk on my own research and hear about the research that others in my program are doing!

Are you a Windows or a Mac? chevron_dress_love_14_zps3set2jhx

I’m definitely a Mac! From home laptop to work computer to my phone, I am apple J

Where will be your ideal get-away spot from the academic hustle? Why?

Hawaii – Since I live in Los Angeles and am rather “close,” I have been multiple times when I just felt so overwhelmed with work and needed a break. I have a cousin that lives in Waikiki so I have done long weekends in Hawaii, where I can spend most of the time on the beach surfing and relaxing without breaking the bank! It is a nice escape from reality; I wish I could afford to go more often!

Who are you when you are not doing research or teaching?

I am a creative! I love to paint when I have a block of time that I want to spend listening to some music and painting! I also love to draw (I have a heavily used sketchbook), make cute crafts for around the house, work on web design, put together outfits, blog, write – you name it!

People are always surprised that…

Fellow Scientists are always surprised that I’m a fashion blogger, and conversely bloggers that I meet are surprised that I’m a scientist working on a PhD in Biochemistry! People are also surprised that I have web design knowledge, and that I taught myself when I was 13!

If you were not an academic researcher, what would you be?
That’s a hard question, but either an entrepreneur/business owner/CEO or a Broadcast Journalist. Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to run my own business or company. I still have those dreams and I am still aiming high, just don’t know in what yet. I would love to have my own brand of something. It would be great to fuse my scientific knowledge and love for research with business! Before I decided to go into science I was so into writing and journalism (I was editor in chief of my high school’s newspaper), I could see myself being a news anchor on a major news channel!

Andrea blogs regularly on and you can follow her on Twitter @PhDfashionistaAlso check out her Facebook page. She’s got lovely photos on Instagram too. 

Meet the Scholar is a weekly Wednesday feature on Stylish Academic. Who’s next?