Growing up in Iowa, Dr. Eric Mendenhall says biology always "came really easily" to him. But other than becoming a doctor, which he wasn't interested in, he didn't know what to do with a degree in the field. That is, until he landed a job at a human genome lab as an undergraduate. "I was just looking to see if research would interest me," he says. "But to see people analyze blood samples from patients with birth defects and figure out what genetic mutations they had - that seemed very proactive." So Dr. Mendenhall became, in his words, a "lab rat." And once he completed his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, he decided to continue on, earning a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Minnesota.