Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz

Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz

Associate Professor

University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Phoenix, AZ USA

I’m so proud to be a nerd.


By Roadtrip Nation

Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz


My road in life has been direct.
I always knew I wanted to go into biology—I grew up loving reading, playing in the dirt, catching lizards, and dissecting things.
After earning my bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, I went to the University of Texas Medical Branch for graduate school, initially thinking I wanted to study BSL-3 pathogens.
As I rotated through labs, I realized that I wanted to study the immune response to emerging pathogens, which wasn’t possible with viruses that kill a person that quickly—I knew I needed to shift.
I landed in a women’s health lab, which was a great fit for me because I was able to study the immune response to a virus over a few years while pursuing my Ph.D.
I earned my Ph.D. and went on to do postdoctoral research in the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.
I became an assistant research professor at Arizona State University, where I stayed for a few years before joining the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix as an assistant professor.
I now work as an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, where I teach basic medical sciences, obstetrics, and gynecology.
Additionally, I’m the director of the Women’s Health Microbiome Initiative.
Keep following my journey


High School
Biology and Chemistry
Colorado Mesa University
Biomedical Sciences/Experimental Pathology
The University of Texas Medical Branch


Associate Professor

I do research and teach basic medical sciences and obstetrics and gynecology.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

In academia, the days vary between research, teaching, and service. I spend a lot of time writing grants and papers to get funding for our research. I meet with other collaborators. I also train new up and coming scientists.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Reach out for mentorships, internships, and volunteer opportunities to gain experience. When doing so, be very thoughtful in how you're crafting your request. Craft it in a way that the person receiving it feels like they can't say no to you. And if they do say no, don't let that discourage you. It's likely that they're saying no because they already have a full load of trainees and can't give you the attention you deserve. There are other opportunities out there to learn—just try again.


The Noise I Shed

From Family:

"When are you going to finish school and get a real job?"

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student

Interviewed By

All Paths Arizona

All Paths Arizona

Young Arizonans explore opportunity in their home state