Christopher Rongo was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, as an only child. Although science always interested him, he did not always have the determination to be a scientist. His undergraduate work at the University of California, San Diego fed his love of science, but a difficult research project in Ruth Lehmann's lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) nearly ended his scientific career. Refocusing his efforts and determination he was finally able to succeed in Lehmann's lab, and graduate just before she left MIT. He faced similar obstacles in Josh Kaplan's lab, first at Massachusetts General Hospital and then at the University of California, Berkeley. Despite setbacks as a graduate student and a postdoc, Rongo's career flourished as a professor. His early challenges prepared him to face the challenges set before a new PI, and ensured his continued success in neuroscience. The vast majority of his interview is focused on his work with Rutgers, what it is like being a PI, and the challenges faced by PIs attempting to juggle social lives, funding applications, and their own desire to be at the bench. In a time of pressure to publish and strong competition for funding, Rongo insists on moving forward. His increased interest in medical relevance in his work fuels his ambition. He looks towards what science has to offer in the future and is excited by the prospects that lie ahead, while openly facing the challenges presented to him. In addition, he discusses his receipt of the Pew Biomedical Scholars Award and what that has meant to his career.
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