Meet Those Nerdy Girls: Dr. Kristen Panthagani

Women in STEM

Do you love our recent series on logical fallacies as much as I do? Well then, get excited because you’re about to meet the woman who writes them!

Dr. Panthagani is our only contributor who has both an 🩺M.D. and a 📜Ph.D., which she earned from Baylor College of Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program. Her Ph.D. is in Genetics and Genomics, and she wrote her dissertation on the human microbiome. She recently learned that she will begin her residency in Emergency Medicine at Yale this summer!

Fun fact: though she has two doctoral degrees, you only need to put “Dr.” in front of her name once. 👩🏻‍⚕️

“When I was a kid, math was my thing. I thought biology was boring, and I put off taking high school biology for as long as I could. I was required to take one biology course to graduate, so in my senior year of high school I finally did it. And in that class, I learned about DNA and how it is 🧬 AN ACTUAL PHYSICAL CODE 🧬. As a math nerd, the order and elegance of this system blew my mind, and I was hooked.

From there my interest in the world of biology expanded, and I couldn’t decide between medicine and research. I entered college thinking I wanted to go to medical school and did the whole pre-med track. But summer research opportunities made me realize just how much I loved the research side of things, and I was torn. During my junior year of college, one of my advisors told me about MD/PhD programs, which allow you to do both! And that’s what I did.”

Dr. Panthagani also writes You Can Know Things, which she calls “a blog about science in a world of untrue facts.” She explained more about MD-PHD training in a recent post there, which I will link at the end. Here are a few more thoughts from Dr. Panthagani.

🟣 What do you miss most from the Before Times?

“A lot of things, but the one that comes immediately to mind is not having to think and plan so much whenever we want to go out and do something. Deciding what activities with what precautions to do when and where feels like 9-dimensional chess sometimes, and it is pretty exhausting. I miss the days when we could make plans without thinking about the spread of COVID.

🟣 What is one thing you really do not miss?

“I love being able to work and watch lectures at home, with my coffee and my puppy snuggled up next to me. ☕🐶💻 I wouldn’t want to go back to the March 2020 days of virtual work as our only option, but I do appreciate a hybrid approach!”

🟣 What is your superpower?

“Finding flaws in data sets. I seem to be very good at this, and as an academic it sometimes makes my life harder because it looks like everything with a data set is ready to go, then I find a major problem nobody else saw. So fun.” [But better to find it at that point than later, right nerds?]

🟣 Why do you spend your time volunteering at Dear Pandemic?

“The short answer is: I love doing it. ❤️ This pandemic has been so confusing and stressful, and being able to use my education to help people make sense of the world is incredibly rewarding.”

When she’s not busy snuggling her puppy, watching lectures, writing those 💣Logical Fallacy posts, and being both kinds of doctor, Dr. Panthagani spends her “free time” writing more. She is currently working on her first book, which will teach readers some simple tools to spot flawed science, written for people who don’t have any science background at all. I, for one, am ready to pre-order it now.

~ Malia

Kristen Panthagani earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Washington State University – Tri-Cities as well as an M.D. and Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. She is currently on a short sabbatical and will begin a residency in Emergency Medicine at Yale this Fall.

Dr. Panthagani’s blog is available here and by email (sign up at her website).

And here’s that post she wrote about dual MD-PHD programs.

Find her on social here:



You Can Know Things Facebook page

Baylor College of Medicine Facebook page

BCM Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D. Program) Facebook page

WSU Tri-Cities Facebook page

Yale Emergency Medicine Residency Facebook page

Link to original Dear Pandemic Facebook post