Emily Gillespie, Ph.D.
Q. How are you connected to lupus and/or related autoimmune diseases?
A. For 17 years, lupus research was the focus of my education and career. I also have family members with autoimmune disease, so I have a personal connection as well.
Q. What inspired you to serve on the board of directors?
A. After making a career change last year, I wanted to find a way to remain connected to lupus research, awareness, and education. These had been a big part of my life for many years, and I wanted to continue to be involved. After learning about Lupus Link Minnesota, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the board and be a part of growing this new organization.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish and contribute as a board member for Lupus Link Minnesota?
A. I hope to help strengthen the links between the main pillars of our mission – research, education, and awareness – knowing that they are inter-related and there is great opportunity for synergy. Because of my professional background, I am especially excited to work towards increased integration of lupus research into our awareness and education programs (and vice versa!). I'm also passionate about scientific communication, and I see opportunities for us to increase the understanding of, and excitement for, lupus research.
Q. Let's hear your best pitch: Why should someone support Lupus Link Minnesota?
A. I asked my daughter for help with this one. She said: "We use every penny; donate now to save many." I don't think I could say it better!
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My husband Mike and I have two daughters, Laura (10 years old) and Anna (8 years old). We love to have fun in the outdoors as a family – playing outside, going for walks, canoeing/kayaking/paddle boarding, camping, star-gazing. Mike and I are both native Minnesotans. I'm also fortunate to have my parents and three sisters living nearby.
Q. Name a hero of yours. Why that person?
A. My mom. She has overcome some really difficult challenges in her life, and yet she still manages to always put other people first. She is always looking for ways to support and lift up the people around her. She is smart, funny, a talented pianist, an avid reader, and a bit of a philosopher.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. Go for a run. Get out on the water. Sit on the porch and sample Mike's home-brewed beer. Organize. (I love a good organization project around the house!)
Q. What's one thing that would surprise us about you?
A. I have a black belt in taekwondo.