'Stylish Scientists' is a weekly series that brings you an exclusive peek at women in science and their style.
The motto of the 'Stylish Scientist' is: "Always look chic while making a discovery!"
Let me introduce you to Andreia Lee - a very stylish scientist from Columbia University. Add to this sweet personality, beautiful smile, big scientist's brain - and there you have a killer combination. Our photo shoot took place early in the morning. We wanted to take pictures inside the tissue culture room where cells are grown but, I guess, the doors were still sleepy and we couldn't open them. Oh well, we found plenty of interesting spots next to chemicals, lab coats and other usual lab stuff.
Let's get back to fashion though! Andreia's cool downtown style is adored by lots of Columbia's ladies. How does she do it? I don't know because Andreia hates shopping but the sense of style is key here. Just read the interview below and take notes, ladies!
At what stage of science education are you?
4th year in biological sciences PhD
Tell us about your research, inspiration and motivation in science
I am currently working on a protein, TRIM28, which was found to repress the expression of certain viruses in embryonic stem cells. I want to know how this protein is regulated and why it represses viruses in embryonic stem cells but not in differentiated cell types. My inspiration and motivation is curiosity driven. When the curiosity is no longer there, then it’s time to move on to a new question.
Your earliest fashion memory
My parents had a women’s clothing wholesale business in Sao Paulo and continued it in Los Angeles when we moved to the States. When my sisters and I visited my parents’ store, we would take home all their extra fabric or free samples that would otherwise be thrown away,and we would wrap ourselves with these fabrics and pretend they were evening dresses, togas, priests/nuns robes, or whatever else was in our imagination… we were really into it.
Who influenced your style and do you have any style icons?
My mom. Since she was in the business of women’s clothing, she’d have very high standards for quality. The stitching, the fit, the cut, the material, everything was very meticulously analyzed in the dressing room before it gained her mark of approval. The outcome is that I hated shopping with her, but I also formed a habit of buying very few good quality items and wearing them to death.Otherwise, many people/things/experiences influence my style, but I can’t say I have any style icons that readily come to mind. If I appreciate someone’s aura or spirit, then I’ll try to take that with me, but I move on quite quickly after that.
How did the places where you lived influence your style choices?
California influenced me to value comfort and New York influenced me to be bolder.
Your favorite brands and places to shop
I admire Isabel Marant and Carven right now, but I don’t own a single item from either brand. I love seeing beautiful/creative designs more than wearing it (and it’s also way expensive!). I have no loyalty to brands that I wear, and it’s because brands need to be somewhat consistent in a type of style, so I’ll get bored of it quickly. I rarely stick with a brand long enough to own more than two pieces of clothing from it. As for shopping, I hate shopping, actually, and I never know where to shop. It’s such a time-consuming process, and the New York shopping scene overwhelms me. But I love the excitement of finding something that I love. Can you tell me where to shop??
I am currently wearing a Madewell sweater and Won Hundred jeans.
Your everyday science uniform
Winter: Jeans, a comfy sweater, and boots.
Summer: shorts, a boyish tee, and flats
What do you think about dressing nicely while doing experiments?
I used to be self-conscious about dressing too nicely to lab. I worried about not being taken seriously but my concerns were mostly driven by my own insecurities. I still value dressing practically in lab, but at some point, I stopped paying attention to how I am perceived… to each his/her own.
Any thoughts about how the general public perceives scientists and their appearance?
I suppose people may stereotype scientists as being plain, or dorky? Even that stereotype seems outdated now. I haven’t experienced any harm from these stereotypes, so I don’t have many thoughts on this topic. It is what it is.
What are your favorite spots in NYC?
Riverside park because I live right next to it, walking/running along the Hudson, tennis at 96th street and Riverside, and my apt with my husband. As for food, I love Takashi Grill for the Kalbi, Cha-An for lunch, Pisticci’s for an easy neighborhood spot, Oasis Juice bar, Absolute Bagels, Taim for cheap middle eastern, Casa for Brazilian, Gulluoglu for baklava, the Ides for great views of NYC, and Sushi Yasaka for my regular sushi spot.
Photos are taken and edited by me