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By uscbknpt

Juliet’s Second Chapter

Juliet Moore portrait

Graduate Juliet Moore aims to use her doctoral degree to study the impacts of exercise and hormone therapy for transgender individuals undergoing gender-affirming care. 


JULIET MOORE PHD ’24 CAME OUT AS TRANSGENDER halfway through her doctoral program at USC. Raised in a small town in Tennessee, Moore says she was met with acceptance and support from the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. “USC offers great benefits for transgender individuals, so I took full advantage of those. The therapists and psychiatrists are fantastic and loving.”

Once she graduates, Moore plans to use her education to pay it forward. “I want to work with the LGBTQ population — especially transgender individuals who are undergoing hormone therapy, to see how exercise can modulate their physiology while on hormones and how exercise can help with psychosocial factors like anxiety and depression,” she explains. “Most researchers go into researching something that is very close to them.”  


“I Couldn’t Ask for a Better Mentor”


Associate Professor George Salem — Moore’s faculty adviser — has played a key role in Moore’s time at USC. In fact, his research methods are the reason she decided to pursue her doctorate in biokinesiology at the university. “I came across his profile on healthy aging and reached out to him,” she says. “We had similar ideas on research, and he thought it’d be good for me to apply my immunology background to working with older adults and exercise. I wanted to look into how we can mix the two.” 

Moore has worked with Salem for seven years: two years for her master’s and then five years for her PhD. “He has been with me every step of the way,” she recalls. “He has been great at guiding me through scientific practice, research and writing papers. But we’ve also had a close-knit relationship outside of the lab. He’s really helped me during times when I’ve struggled over the years. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.”


A Need for Collaboration


As Moore began working in labs after obtaining her undergraduate degree, she witnessed conversations surrounding researchers who try to beat each other to new discoveries. “That’s not what I was interested in,” she says. “Dr. Salem told me USC had multiple projects across multiple labs. I chose USC mainly because of the opportunity for a lot of collaboration.”

It’s that spirit of collaboration that Moore says has led her to become a better professional. Working with various researchers and faculty members has helped her get a feel for how other labs do their work. “Dr. Salem has been really supportive of me going to multiple conferences, which has been huge,” she says. “I’ve also mentored a lot of students, so I feel like I’m prepared to step into my field.”


Time to Celebrate


Before embarking on a career in research, Moore plans to pursue a postdoctoral degree exploring mass spectrometry. “I want to learn the process, because that’s where exercise physiology is leaning heavily right now — in the omics sphere,” she explains.

Eventually, Moore and her wife will be moving to the Pacific Northwest to plant roots. “That’s more of our climate,” she says, with a laugh. “We are rain people and not sunny-all-the-time people.” 

But first, she looks forward to celebrating Commencement with members of her lab and family who will be traveling to USC to honor her impressive milestone.