Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month, we chat with Kyle Wilcox, Ph.D., scientist, translational imaging, pharmacology, AbbVie.
All his life, Kyle Wilcox has focused a trained eye on nature’s complicated patterns and the mysterious spaces in between. With a camera always at the ready, he strives to capture that rarest of image revealing the beauty in life’s puzzling connections. His mission as a scientist is no different: observe, explore and identify breaks from the norm that reveal exciting new avenues of scientific discovery. The only difference is that in the lab … the images reveal what’s inside the body.
Tell us the story of how you fell in love with science.
I never wanted to fake anything or appear inauthentic – to pretend I’m something I’m not or claim to know something I don’t. I think I needed to live a life that was anchored to something solid. I guess this personality trait led me to gravitate toward the sciences because science is ultimately a tool for approaching what is true. There’s an old quote saying what we think of as science can be categorized as either physics or stamp collecting. Stamp collecting, which I take to mean memorizing or recording unconnected facts, has never appealed to me – I like to see myself in the physics camp concerned with how underlying “rules” lead to the patterns we observe in nature. Thinking about these patterns and what we can do with that understanding is what gets me excited. One cool thing about science today is that through ever-increasing computational power and access to massive datasets it is possible to extract and interpret non-obvious patterns from things that previously seemed like stamp collecting.