Laura Knoll received her BA from St. Olaf College, her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, then moved to Stanford University for her postdoctoral training, where she entered the fascinating world of parasitology. In 2001, she started her own research lab focused on parasites at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laura’s lab focuses on the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes congenital infections and is the reason why women are not supposed to change the cat litter when they are pregnant. Her lab recently determined the mechanism behind this cat-specificity and was able to break the species barrier to have sexual development of Toxoplasma to occur in mice. Laura believes that engagement in the arts helps scientists be more creative. Laura performed in musical theater throughout high school and college. She was a member of the St. Olaf Dance Company and danced with Suzanne Grace and Gash/Voigt Dance Theater throughout graduate school.