Sally Liu Baxter, B.S. 2009

Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego – La Jolla, CA

2009 Major: Biology; minor in Physics; certificate in Genome Science and Policy

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"My experience as a biology major at Duke was incredibly formative. It was during that time when I gained a solid foundation in scientific and critical thinking. The department offered a wide range of courses that prepared me well for medical school and graduate training. Also, getting hands-on experience in the laboratory of Nina Sherwood, PhD and learning scientific writing in a detailed, structured way from Julie Reynolds, PhD were pivotal in building my research and writing skills. I am now a physician-scientist at UCSD, where I not only practice comprehensive ophthalmology, but I also serve as the Chief of our Division of Ophthalmology Informatics and Data Science and direct a growing research program with funding from several NIH and foundation grants, including the NIH Office of the Director's Early Independence Award. I would not be where I am today without the foundation I developed as an undergrad at Duke."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Biology programs? 

"Take advantage of the amazing professors and resources you have available to you at Duke! Duke offers so many opportunities to take interesting courses in all areas of biology, to do research with world-renowned professors, and to engage in unique experiences such as the Marine Lab, the Lemur Center, and more. I also enjoyed the interdisciplinary opportunities at Duke, such as being able to learn about bioethics, policy considerations, and intersections with engineering and computer science. College is a great time to develop a broad perspective; you will have plenty of time to specialize and be narrow later on. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and explore something new."

Sally Liu Baxter