Annelys Roque Gardner, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
A refugee from Cuba at age seven, this medical doctor worked on the Covid-19 vaccine.
Annelys was a freshman at Harvard when a mentorship program paired her with Peter Girguis’s lab. He’s an oceanographer who studies biological processes in the deep sea, and had just started his own lab at Harvard. Science appealed to Annelys, and the work was interesting, but Annelys wanted to go to medical school. “If an opportunity comes along that is fun and interesting and I think could lead to some personal growth, I’m willing to explore that route.”
Annelys liked the microbiology she learned in Pete’s lab, but wanted to do something different professionally. She leveled with Pete and offered to look for work elsewhere. “He said, ‘Well, it’s up to you, but if you want to stay, you’re welcome to.” She kept the job, which led to diving in the submersible Alvin to the deep sea — very cool stuff!
Between her parents working all the time and being a latchkey kid, Annelys says, she wasn't involved in many activities. But now she works as a mentor with the Boys and Girls Club and is impressed with the work the club does.
Eventually she found working at the National Institute of Health with HIV. It still wasn’t the right fit. “I got a little bit closer, but then I understood that what I was missing was the human interaction.” When she began working with HIV patients, things clicked at last.
Medical school gives students experience in multiple work settings. But Annelys knew she couldn’t be a surgeon. “I’ve never been good with that kind of procedure.:
Getting it right
Annelys says people call infectious disease doctors when they are at their wits’ end and want someone else to take a look at the evidence in a different way. She traces her ability to do so back to The Girguis Lab. “I ended up a microbiologist in the end, just with people instead of the sea.”
IN the home
How do you keep your home virus free? Listen to Annelys's interview here.
Annelys's article COVID-19 THROUGH THE LATINX INFECTIOUS DISEASE DOCTOR'S EYES is here.