Who were your mentors?

I have been lucky to be surrounded by great role models and mentors my whole life. But, interestingly, I happened to work for three very successful female professors. This was not done consciously! In my PhD, I was in Professor Maria DeRosa's lab. She encouraged me to do a PhD in her group. Maria has an unmatched passion for science and chemistry – this passion and enthusiasm definitely rubbed off on me. I then moved to Stanford University for an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship supervised by Professor Christina Smolke. Christina taught me to be fearless – to not let setbacks disrupt my success and passion for research. Finally, I moved to ETH Zurich, where I worked with Professor Shana Sturla. Shana taught me how to be very productive while still having fun. In particular, she really pushed me to make my scientific writing as clear as possible. All three women had their own unique style, taught me so much more than I can write here, and are considered superstars in their fields!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I act as a mentor for several young women in undergraduate and graduate studies in life sciences, chemistry, engineering, etc. I travel when I can and love going to any sporting event!

Any other fun facts/tidbits you'd like us to know?

My 15 minutes of fame came from my SELEX Science/AAAS Dance Your PhD (Check out the video below). In my PhD, the DeRosa lab put together a dance that described one of my projects – and we won! It was a lot of fun and has been a very useful tool for describing my work, and motivating the younger generation to go into STEM. I highly recommend this side project to every research group.

Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using SELEX.

How do you pronounce your last name?

Mc-Keg: imagine if McDonald's starting selling kegs of beer, they would probably name it the "Mc-Keg".

Some questions adapted from a 2015 Interview by the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society. See the rest of the interview here!