News Feature

San Francisco
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 10, 2013
Deer Isle grad conducting stem cell research with Nobel Prize winner

Amy Foley

Amy Foley.

Photo courtesy of Amy Foley

by Jessica Brophy

In October, the Nobel Prize committee announced its choice for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to develop into all types of cells in the body.

Amy Foley, a 2006 graduate of Deer Isle-Stonington High School, works with Yamanaka as a stem cell biochemist at Gladstone Industries in San Francisco. She works with Yamanaka and her own research is related—focusing on ways for stem cells to repair damaged tissue in the heart after a heart attack.

In May of 2012, an article co-authored by Foley appeared in the academic journal Nature.

Foley, the daughter of Jim and Sally Foley of Deer Isle, studied biochemistry at the University of Maine, graduating in 2010.

Foley said she was always a “math and science kid.” She said Seth Laplant, DISHS science teacher, inspired her interest in biology and genetics. She also cites Bill Shaw as an influence. Shaw helped build a new science center in the high school which opened in 2010.

After graduating from UMaine, Foley knew she wanted to move to San Francisco. Foley plans to attend medical school—she wants to be a pediatric cardiologist—and the job she has now is the “perfect bridge” between her undergrad degree and medical school.

“I could not be happier with this job,” said Foley.