Pioneering research from Mina Bissell established the "Dynamic-Reciprocity" view of biology in which there is a bidirectional interaction between cells and their microenvironment. Her revolutionary work showed that extracellular matrix signaling and microenvironment impact gene expression, taking cancer research beyond genetics. For these contributions, she is the recipient of the 2020 Canada Gairdner International Award. Growing up in a well-educated family in Iran, Mina liked to ask many "why" questions. She spoke with Cell editor Miao-Chih Tsai about how she tackles scientific questions and life challenges. Excerpts from this conversation are presented below, and the full conversation is available with the article online.