Joe Brett was introduced to science at an early age when his mother, a wildlife biologist, took him on nature walks, explaining how birds and plants are all interdependent on one another. In high school he became interested in physics and enrolled in the physics program at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. At South Dakota Mines Joe was a research assistant for Steve Smith, PhD, the head of the Nanoscience Program, and his research with that group inspired him to pursue a biophysical career path instead of a more traditional physics path.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics in 2021 from South Dakota Mines. His research there focused on designing, constructing, and testing a super-resolution fluorescence microscopy system which can be used for high-speed live cell imaging. He also worked for a short time in a group investigating therapeutics for osteoarthritis; his role was designing a vertical magnet actuator which could apply variable forces to individual cells. In addition to working as a research assistant, he helped graduate students with their projects, especially when they needed help with software or component design and manufacturing.
“Biomedical science is much different than nuclear physics in the twentieth century, but its situation seems comparable,” he says. “Biomedical science is right on the edge of a multitude of amazing breakthroughs, just like nuclear physics a century ago, and I want to be part of this process of discovery.”
Hometown: Rapid City, South Dakota