Vlad Schüler Costa
PhD Student in Anthropology

 

This project is about shedding light on the dreams and work of academics and researchers. The aim is to sharing their aspirations with larger audiences who care about current research that is conducted from around the world. As a start please introduce yourself.

Sure. I’m Vlad Schüler Costa, I’m a Brazilian anthropologist, and I’ve been doing my research here in Manchester for the past three years now.

What is your research on and where are you conducting it (what stage you are at, what department and university, where you conduct your research?

I’m a fourth year student now, within the Social Anthropology Department at the University of Manchester.

My research is situated within the subfield of “anthropology of science”. More specifically, I conducted one year of fieldwork observing scientists at work in a laboratory within the University of Manchester’s Institute of Biotechnology. The scientists in this lab were working to develop a “robot scientist” — an apparatus that uses laboratory robotics and artificial intelligence to automate a specific kind of microbiological research, without the need for human intervention (only oversight).

Why did you choose this topic of research?

Honestly, there were many reasons. Back in 2013/2014, during my Master’s, I was exposed to the anthropology of science, the sociology of knowledge, and STS (science and technology studies), and I found it all absolutely fascinating. I was studying digital anthropology back then (with a side focus on the political economy of knowledge), and through that I got to know some people who were doing research in IT and AI, and it seemed to me a field that opened so many questions to the core issue of anthropology — “what makes us human?”.

After that, it was a matter of luck and persistence until figuring out the particular place where I wanted to conduct my research — back then I hadn’t any idea I would get so involved with microbiology!

What contribution your research is going to add?

Well, it depends, honestly. In some ways, I make very humble contributions — a huge part of what the thesis is about is saying that “this thing this author says happens in these conditions also happened in my fieldsite!”.

But I also aim at bigger discussions — for example, the anthropology of robotics is completely fixated on anthropomorphic (humanlike) robots, and I want to argue not only that not all robots are humanlike, but that the way we treat those non-humanoid robots is much more fraught with uncertainties than the literature seems to convey.

Tell us a little more about your research and it’s significance

Okay. I’ve done this year of participant observation within this lab. We anthropologists tend to prefer participant observation because it is the best method to, well, observe people and understand what they do in their daily lives. That (what some people also call “ethnography”) is what mostly distinguishes the kind of knowledge anthropologists are generally interested in generating — rather than what stands out or is uncommon, we tend to look for the everyday, quotidian practices of regular people.

And this is highly important when discussing science! You see, most scientists know that science is mostly done by regular people, carrying out their research, which sometimes can be boring and tedious. However, when scientists (and other people, such as science journalists, etc) write about science, they tend to highlight the fun, “sexy” parts of it, rather than the troublesome and laborious reality of it. People don’t talk about how many experiments failed before finally getting that reliable, reproducible one. Or about how much time you have to spend calibrating your equipment every time before you run an experiment, because any slight change in parameters might affect the data.

So these everyday realities of science becomes similar to what Michael Taussig calls “public secrets” — “that which is generally known, but cannot be articulated”. Scientists might chat about these issues among themselves — particularly, I’ve found out, when touching base with their colleagues, when people trade these “war stories” — but rarely in public fora. And I feel that is one of the reasons why “laypeople” are sometimes shocked when they get to know the “backstage” of science. They expect science to be all about absolute certainty and minute precision, so when they discover that science is not quite like that, well, they might feel shocked!

That’s why I think it’s important to demystify science even if just a little bit, and that’s what I try to do in my research.

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?

That’s an unknown yet. I’d like to stay in academia, hopefully as a permanent lecturer or professor — as I love teaching and supervising, even more than researching or writing.

Of course, as we all know, it isn’t so easy to find a stable job within academia nowadays, so I might keep conducting research and writing — either as a postdoc, or even outside academia.

What do you think can be improved in higher education and participation in order to encourage more people to conduct research that makes a change?

Honestly, the crescent neoliberalisation and commercialisation of higher education concerns me, a lot. Not only because it completely distorts what academia should be about — “the pursuit of knowledge” or however you’d like to phrase it — but also because it creates an unnecessary hurdle to people who cannot afford to participate.

We are asking teenagers to decide if their parents can afford their studies, or alternatively whether they want to get piles of debt that will last throughout their adult life.

Furthermore, this impacts the actual research being conducted as well. Researchers cannot afford to pursue long-term research goals, because the current system is increasingly based on short-term quantifiable metrics, like publications — see Peter Higgs, Nobel prize winner, who has said ‘no university would employ him in today’s academic system because he would not be considered “productive” enough’ (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/06/peter-higgs-boson-academic-system).

What inspires you as a person and a researcher?

That’s a tough one. I’ll risk sounding cheesy, but I think the world inspires me.

One of the reasons I became an academic is because the world as a whole, and the social world in particular, absolutely baffles me. I find the oddest things completely fascinating, and sometimes I’ll spend an unreasonable amount of time thinking about the most mundane stuff.

This is what Brazilian anthropologist Roberto DaMatta has famously called the “anthropological blues” — becoming fixated and delighted in the simplest things, and euphoric when you finally get to figure them out. This feeling, of “figuring things out”, inspires me.

Is there anything you would like to share with us regarding a change of perspective or belief you had during your PhD journey?

There are a couple, but I think the one that I find the most interesting is how I stopped “believing” in (completely closed) academic disciplines. The lab I worked in was inherently interdisciplinary, and people would have loads of interests and knowledge about things you wouldn’t immediately expect them to have based on their degrees. I now tend to think of disciplines as being similar to languages — they are a way of representing the world and communicating that to others, but they are much less rigid than they seem at first sight.

What are the challenges and benefits of your type of research and topic?

The biggest challenge in the anthropology of science is actually getting access to fieldsites. Most of us have our stories of approaching a particular laboratory or research group asking to study them, and having that request denied. I think this happens more often nowadays, as all of us feel the threat of science denialism and anti-science movements in the broader society. And I’m not saying I don’t understand that people might get uncomfortable when a stranger appears out of nowhere wanting to observe them! It’s just that sometimes it is challenging trying to find a place that will accept your presence as a “resident anthropologist”.

And in fact, I think the loss ends up being on those labs, because anthropologists of science overwhelmingly end up being the most passionate science advocates you can find. In fact, some of us, myself included, end up dedicating a lot of (unpaid) time and energy to science communication and popularisation. Not only because we end up befriending most of our informants — it’s very difficult to conduct anthropological research if you don’t get along with them –, but in fact it is a skill we acquire through our research — after all, most of my work is “translating” the (robotics, AI, microbiology) research I have witnessed to “laypeople” (other anthropologists).

Ph.D. is a big commitment, what would you like to say to aspiring researchers?

Don’t rush into it! I know some people who think they are “too old” or have “lost the timing” to pursue a Ph.D., but many of the best anthropologists I know started their PhDs later in life.

Otherwise, keep in mind that pursuing a Ph.D. tends to be a highly stressful enterprise, regardless of your field. You are not the only one who is struggling, and it’s tough because discovering new knowledge is tough. Remember to enjoy life, chat with friends and please go to therapy.

Conversation by:
Nada Al Hudaid

Vlad’s research is very interesting as it looks at the human aspect within a robotic environment. He seeks to highlight the human experience in a scientific lab which does not really get much attention apart from the final outcomes of the experiments (contingent on its success).

Vlad is a very intelligent intellectual and full of life which reflects very well in how he presents his work. Keep an eye on his work, you will learn a lot and enjoy his light-hearted tweets.

Learn more about Vlad's work:
http://www.vladschuler.net
Connect with Vlad:
https://twitter.com/@v_schulercosta

 

Conversation by:
Nada Al Hudaid

Vlad’s research is very interesting as it looks at the human aspect within a robotic environment. He seeks to highlight the human experience in a scientific lab which does not really get much attention apart from the final outcomes of the experiments (contingent on its success).

Vlad is a very intelligent intellectual and full of life which reflects very well in how he presents his work. Keep an eye on his work, you will learn a lot and enjoy his light-hearted tweets.

Carolina Braz

 

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a relatively reserved person, tend to talk as little as possible but enjoy the presence of people I consider close.

What is the focus of your research?

My research is in the Drug Design and Developing field, with a focus of compounds with action against Leishmania spp.

What are the questions that you are dealing with?

I’m researching if a determined class of compounds has an action against parasites and looking for a possible protein target.

Why are they relevant?

Because Leishmania current treatment is highly toxic for patients, so new alternatives are always welcome. And this particular class of compounds has actions against several other parasites, but the mechanism of action is still unknown.

What kind of answers would you like to get out of it?

I’m hoping to propose a target and find a hit – highly potent- compound.

Why is this kind of research relevant?

Improvement in the already limited therapeutical arsenal.

How do you see the future in this field, what kind of challenges you believe we will encounter?

Challenges concern of leading this research to the next logical step, which is animal trials. The optimal future, in this case, would be to be able to launch a new drug in the market.

Is there a new research approach that you think is going to be relevant?

Probably the neglected diseases field is not much within the industry’s concerns, but I think getting rid of parasitic diseases, especially in under developing countries, is relevant for public health.

Is this a topic that you think is relevant right now?

Yes. Because of the recent cases of resistance to current treatment.

How did you get interested in what you are doing?

I have always liked medicinal chemistry, especially when allied with molecular modeling approaches. The field of research for new drugs is the very first step in the drug industrial process and has always caught my attention.

Why should everybody learn about subjects like history or biology?

Everybody should learn biology and chemistry – at least the very basics – because it’s primordial to have a basic understanding of how your own body and the environment around you work. All the debate around whether or not vaccines are bad for children would be avoided, for example.

What do you need to be a good researcher or a Ph.D. student in your program?

Independent and innovative behavior. Focus. The ability to overcome the many problems that happen every day. Networking and seeking other researchers’ aid and opinions.

Who inspired and who continues to inspire you?

Some of my professors in undergrad.

What motivates you?

The thought that I can contribute minimally to knowledge production and eventually help someone (or myself) in the future with some outstanding discovery.

What book would you read again?

I’m currently rereading a few of Garcia Marquez’s books.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Working in a research facility.

A challenge? The most beautiful day? The most difficult one?

Getting up every morning and solving all the problems that never cease to come. A beautiful day is always near the sea.

What kind of impact would you like to have?

I’d like to lead a successful research project, possibly discovering a new drug.

What does the world need the most right now?

Empathy.

What does research need the most right now?

Emotional balance and fundings.

If you could change one thing, what would you like to change?

The political scenario.

What is your dream, or the society you dream of?

I dream of a society where everybody has equal aces to health and education.

What is life about?

Learning every day and improving as a person. And traveling as much as possible.

Conversation by:
Amanda Fernandes

I decided to interview Carolina because she is a young researcher in the health area and works in a very relevant field. She is a Brazilian pharmacist who is studying the development of new drugs. As Brazil is a country with great potential for this, her research becomes very relevant worldwide. So, it would be very interesting to know what her goals are, as well as the inspiration to do it.

And in fact, it truly was. She is a nice girl with great intentions on her research. It is a very relevant study, englobing a neglected disease and the improvement of its treatment. I found it fascinating to learn more about it and to understand her field of work a little better.

Learn more about Carolina's work:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carolina_Braz

 

Conversation by:
Amanda Fernandes

I decided to interview Carolina because she is a young researcher in the health area and works in a very relevant field. She is a Brazilian pharmacist who is studying the development of new drugs. As Brazil is a country with great potential for this, her research becomes very relevant worldwide. So, it would be very interesting to know what her goals are, as well as the inspiration to do it.

And in fact, it truly was. She is a nice girl with great intentions on her research. It is a very relevant study, englobing a neglected disease and the improvement of its treatment. I found it fascinating to learn more about it and to understand her field of work a little better.

Monica Apango Partida
PhD Student in Political Science
University of Guadalajara

 

How would you describe yourself?

I am a curious person. I like to learn new things, analyze and try to understand reality. I am a reflective person and I try to think about how to bring an improvement to society.

What is the focus of your research?

Russia and the configuration of the world order

What are the questions that you are dealing with?

What is the role of Russia in the configuration of the world order, and why has Russia become an influential actor in international politics.

Why are they relevant?

Because we are currently in a crisis of international order where the Chinese economy has overpassed the United States economy, and Russia has shown itself as an important political actor that defies that world order.

What kind of answers you would like to get out of it?

One in where Russia tries to rescue an order based on the reconstruction of the identity and values of the nations.

Why is this kind of research relevant?

Because the consequences of this international crisis could show another perspective in the economic, political and social field. Although it is an international crisis and it affects any nation-state.

How do you see the future of this field? What kind of challenges do you believe we will encounter?

We will face the possibility of redesigning the economic and political model, rescuing the identity of the state and common values, and respecting the sovereignty of the state.

Is there a new research approach that you think is going to be relevant?

An approach that tries to include different theories in international relations and that is multidisciplinary to better understand this reality.

Is there a topic that you think is relevant right now?

Yes, the transition to a new international order and the consequences that derive from this.

How did you get interested in what you are doing?

I had the opportunity to do a research stay in Moscow in 2017. I was able to know the position of Russia in its foreign policy and its influence in this crisis of international order.

Why should everybody learn about subjects like history or biology?

Because it is essential to have knowledge of reality in their different areas of study.

What do you need to be a good researcher or PhD student in your program?

You need to learn new languages and practice more English. I also think that it´s very important to publish articles on the topics that we are studying and discussing in the doctoral program. I think that currently the world is changing in political regimes, in economic models and different types of values and cultures; it is urgent to understand this reality and think about it in a more integral perspective, including values or basic social principles.

Who inspired and continues to you?

Aristotle the Stagirite (s. VI a. C), is a classic thinker whom I admire for his contribution to knowledge in different areas such as physics, politics, logic, etc. He was a genius for his time, and his thought is still valid today. He brought knowledge through observation, analysis and reflection of reality, a knowledge that includes theory and practice.

Another thing that inspires me is our own reality, the time and space we are living, because I believe that today more than ever it is necessary to reflect, understand, analyze and share the investigation of facts and concrete situations. I think that only that way one could think in alternatives.

What motivates you?

It motivates me to think that we are human beings, that is to say, rational and sensitive. We have the creativity to create new things and the sensitivity to be in solidarity with the other. This helps to improve the conditions of a society.

What book would you like to read again?

Now I do not plan to read a book again, rather I have many others to read.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I see myself teaching at the university, researching current issues, trying to reflect on how to humanize society and the world.

A challenge? The most beautiful day? The most difficult one?

Learning the Russian language. The day of my wedding. My master’s thesis presentation.

Whatever you would like the world to know!

It is urgent to put human beings at the center of society, to respect their dignity. Only in this way can we humanize society, politics and the economy.

What kind of impact you would like to have?

That my research influences to rethink reality and think about alternatives, but from the understanding of concrete contexts.

What does the world need the most right now?

The world needs human sensitivity.

What does research need the most right now?

Research in the area of social sciences, but in a multidisciplinary way, including philosophy.

If you could change one thing, what would you like to change?

Change the utilitarian and materialist mentality for a more human mentality.

Your dream / the society you dream of?

A society governed by basic social principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, respect for human dignity and good economic and natural resource management.

What is the question that nobody asks and you would like to answer?

I dream of a truly humane society, that the economic sector, politics, and society can be at the service of the person and seek their integral development, and this cooperation transcends the international scope.

What is your dream OR the society you dream?

My dream is to be able to contribute to the improvement of a society in all its areas, from my trench: research and teaching at the university.

What is life about?

Life is a moment. We were not made to stay in this world, but for eternity. Life would be the opportunity to be a good person and that would take you to try to improve the conditions of others according to your context, your skills and your potential.

It is important to leave a mark in history; that is the life of the saints and the great heroes of history, people who put at the service of humanity their creativity, their abilities, their potential, everything to bring good to society, either through knowledge or actions.

Conversation by:
Amanda Fernandes

“Mónica is a young researcher, interested in political sciences, and this was very interesting for me as an interviewer. I decided to interview her because a point of view in this area is very relevant worldwide.

Since I am from Brazil, and here we are living a currently difficult political situation, it is refreshing to see that there are people willing to fight for an improved society, and thus, a better world to live in.

Although her research is very specific, it was possible to notice by her answers that she is the kind of person that works to fulfill the dream of a better world, where people can have more empathy for each other and so, spread peace over war.”

 

Conversation by:
Amanda Fernandes

“Mónica is a young researcher, interested in political sciences, and this was very interesting for me as an interviewer. I decided to interview her because a point of view in this area is very relevant worldwide.

Since I am from Brazil, and here we are living a currently difficult political situation, it is refreshing to see that there are people willing to fight for an improved society, and thus, a better world to live in.

Although her research is very specific, it was possible to notice by her answers that she is the kind of person that works to fulfill the dream of a better world, where people can have more empathy for each other and so, spread peace over war.”

Pedro Silva Rocha Lima
PhD Student in Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

 

What is your research on and where are you conducting it (what stage you are at, what department and university, where you conduct your research?

Last September (2018) I started a PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. My topic is about how global humanitarianism, which usually happens in situations of armed conflict (or natural disaster), is being deployed in places of everyday violence. In particular, I am looking at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its Safer Access initiative in Brazil’s large cities (and mainly within favelas).

Why did you choose this topic of research?

Since my undergraduate studies I was fascinated by humanitarianism, both because of its strong moral appeal today everywhere, and because of its inherent contradictions or “aporias,” which made it a great object of study. When I found out about the ICRC’s work in Brazil I became very intrigued because it is not the “typical” operational setting for the organization.

What contribution your research is going to add?

There has been a lot of research about humanitarianism when it serves to substitute the state in the provision of health care and other services; so usually countries where the state lacks resources or is undergoing war. That is not really the case in Brazil, and I want to see how humanitarianism – and its expertise particularly – operates when it is deployed instead to support state apparatuses.

Tell us a little more about your research and it’s significance – Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?

In the past 15 or so years there has been an emerging field of anthropology of humanitarianism, and parts of it has been in constructive dialogue with UN agencies, MSF, ICRC and others. I am hoping to make a meaningful contribution to that area and hopefully continue into academia after my PhD. Conducting research in a non-academic research environment (e.g. think tank) is another option.

What do you think can be improved in higher education and participation in order to encourage more people to conduct research that makes a change?

One of the things that could be done is rethink the “managerialist” turn we’ve had in academia in the past years. There has been too much of a focus on assessing research in terms of flaky indicators like numbers of citations or articles published in “high impact journals.” We need to push for new ways to assess academic departments, maybe ones that include aspects related to “change,” like social impact, for instance. But that’s just a suggestion, that would be an enormous task in itself.

What inspires you as a person and a researcher?

What got me into International Relations for my bachelor’s, and then Anthropology for the PhD, was a deep curiosity about difference. Connected to that, there is also a feeling of empathy and a desire to positively impact other people’s lives.

Is there anything you would like to share with us regarding a change of perspective or belief you had during your PhD journey?

I think it is still too early in that journey to be able to say something meaningful about that! I can only say I try to always remain open to different perspectives, even if they seriously contradict something I’ve been working on.

What are the challenges and benefits of your type of research and topic?

Ethnographic research, which is something like a defining feature of Anthropology, is unique because it is based on long-term immersion, 12 months for my PhD, in a specific setting. No other method affords such intimacy and close way of getting to know the everyday lives of people. The inherent challenges there are related to ethics, how you present your findings in writing (you may want to avoid making informants feel “betrayed”), and how to gain access.

PhD is a big commitment, what would you like to say to aspiring researchers?

Make sure you really like academic reading and writing first, because you will do a lot of it. And also be sure to be passionate about your topic – you’ll work with it for 4+ years after all.

Where can people follow you and your work (social media accounts, website, LinkedIn etc)?

I am starting to use Twitter as my “academic” social media, so feel free to follow me there @pedrosrlima

Conversation by:
Nada Al Hudaid

“I really enjoyed learning about Pedro’s work and believe that his contribution will be very valuable in regards to how humanitarian work is doing in Brazil which can help identify strengths and weakness that can be further addressed. Fieldwork in areas that are in need of development can reveal to us what work is actually useful in order to affect policies.

Pedro is a great person with so much passion for humanitarian work. I believe he will make great contributions to his area of research. Part of making a change is connecting with like-minded people.

Follow Pedro to learn more about his work and to create a larger circle of intellectuals who are doing their bit of making our earth a better place.”

Connect with Pedro:
twitter.com/pedrosrlima

 

Conversation by:
Nada Al Hudaid

“I really enjoyed learning about Pedro’s work and believe that his contribution will be very valuable in regards to how humanitarian work is doing in Brazil which can help identify strengths and weakness that can be further addressed. Fieldwork in areas that are in need of development can reveal to us what work is actually useful in order to affect policies.

Pedro is a great person with so much passion for humanitarian work. I believe he will make great contributions to his area of research. Part of making a change is connecting with like-minded people.

Follow Pedro to learn more about his work and to create a larger circle of intellectuals who are doing their bit of making our earth a better place.”

Andrea Marchesi
PhD Student in Chemistry
University of Manchester

 

What do you do your PhD in and what is your main research topic?

My PhD is in Chemistry. I am part of a project funded by the European Union called GLYCOVAX (http://www.glycovax.eu/), and I am trying to synthetize short chains of sugars, called oligosaccharides, using enzymes. Enzymes are protein evolved through time to enable chemical reactions in living organisms, acting like a biological catalyzer. The topic is about synthesizing carbohydrates present in pathogens with the aim of producing new vaccines against them. These vaccines would be directed against bacterial infections that at the moment can cause serious illness in newborn children.

How did you get interested in this particular topic?

I have always been keen on science since I was a kid. I studied Pharmaceutical biotechnology, where I started to love organic chemistry. I started to be interested in carbohydrate chemistry during my Master degree lab work, where I started working with sugars. It is a very challenging field of chemistry, and really, either you love it or hate it. In my case has been the former. I developed a small expertise in the field after one year of internship, so I choose to continue with it. Furthermore, I have always been keen on pharmaceuticals and how to solve medical conditions using chemistry and molecular biology, so in this project I fit both my area of interest and my expertise.

Tell me more about it.

Carbohydrates play a wide range of biological functions; from the structural one (all plant cells walls are made of cellulose, a polymer of glucose), to the probably most famous one: supplying energy to our cells. They are an essential class of biomolecules without which life as we know it would not be possible.

They are involved in immunological processes as well: exposed on the surface of the cells as small “flags”, they enable our cells to recognize each other. In the same way, when a cell turns into a cancer cell or a bacterium enters our organism, they show their own carbohydrate “flags”, often developed to escape the immune system or to migrate into specific parts of our body. The aim of our project is to synthesize the carbohydrates flags showed by some of those bad guys (pathogenic bacteria) and use them to develop new vaccines against them. Our immune system should be trained to recognize them and stop the infection immediately .

Is yours going to be a new approach?

My approach is relatively new. In fact, if carbohydrate chemistry started over 100 years ago (if you studied chemistry at school you may have heard of Fischer, one of the fathers of this field), the enzymatic approach to it is quite recent, due to the development in molecular biology technique of the last 30 years. The application of enzymatic synthesis to this branch of chemistry (as in many others) is a great opportunity. Enzymes usually work in more environment-friendly conditions, (i.e. buffers and water instead of toxic solvents) and, as they are the result of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of years of evolution, they are very selective for specific reactions, giving high yields and avoiding the formation of byproducts.

Carbohydrate chemistry can be quite tricky, and applying enzyme to it can speed up the synthesis of molecules of medical interest. A critical point is to discover these enzymes and have them available and active, so I think that for the moment, the chemical and the enzymatic approach should work together.

How is your research going to impact the world?

My highest hope is that my research would lead to a direct impact by delivering a functioning vaccine. Otherwise, I think I will be able to provide new enzymatic tools to make the synthesis of oligosaccharide easier for whoever wants to work on it, so indirectly contributing to a development of other drugs or bioactive molecules containing sugars.

Do you also collaborate with other research groups?

Yes, I do. As I mentioned earlier, I am part of a project funded by the European Union, GLYCOVAX (http://www.glycovax.eu). A key point of the project is to enhance the relationships between future scientists all over Europe by sharing a common project for their PhD project.

I am a PhD student at the University of Manchester, but I am now writing from Milan, where I am working for the next 6 months exchanging expertise and learning different techniques. I personally believe that collaboration is an essential requirement in science nowadays; competences are so specific that you simply just can’t know how to do everything at a top level by yourself. If you want to produce a high impact with your research, you need to collaborate. In our consortium, there are members working on the biological aspect of developing a vaccine and chemists focusing on the synthesis of the target molecule. This way, we can develop special skills in our field and at the same time share knowledge and have the potential to hopefully get to a useful final product

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?

The first thing is probably to solve the day by day challenge I have in the lab, finding solutions and striving for the success of my ideas. Of course, the main aim of the project is very useful, and I would be very happy and proud to achieve it, but sometimes it looks too big or far away, so I find my motivation mostly in solving the small problems I had the day before, knowing that little by little I am building something.

Sometimes, the hopeless experiment is the one that gives you more satisfaction and energy to push your work. Also, learning is something that gives me energy; I know that I am going to be a little bit more skilled than I was yesterday.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My general plan is to go back to Italy and bring with me what I learnt. I feel that I have a strong bond with my country and I want to do something to make it better, even if sometimes it looks very difficult. Therefore, I think I would see myself also working for a private company instead of a university, just to enhance the possibilities of a return, and also to face a different environment.

What makes life meaningful?

My personal idea is that life is meaningful when you are, generally speaking, happy. Very often you can be happy by developing your natural skills and passions, essentially by being who you are. When you love something, (I can think about me and how I loved science since I was a kid), you should really fight for it and never give up. Everything else will come by itself, because when you are satisfied with yourself, everything else is easier.

What does the world need the most right now, in your opinion?

I think the world needs to change deeply. We, as human beings, are still anchored to an old concept of nations, building borders or walls, putting up a rivalry between ourselves, losing a lot of resources or even worse, lives. I am not saying we should lose our cultural roots, (as I said, I am strongly bound to them). I just think that our society should evolve.

Seeing where we are right now, being divided and enemies to one another is no longer a good option. We are a different parts of the same body. We are different from each other; each of us is special for something and we could work together and be a great and powerful athlete, and instead we are standing in a corner slapping ourselves. We can be different and be one at the same time, just humans. Sadly, we can see an opposite trend nowadays.

What is your dream society?

My dream society is one where humankind is united and based on pursuing wellness through science… I don’t know if you have ever watched Star Trek, but more or less that’s the idea.

What does science need the most right now, in your opinion?

I think science needs to be more appealing and less mystified. There is a general lack of trust in the scientific world, generated by the distance between the science itself and the rest of the population. A situation like this was maybe tolerable 100 years ago, but nowadays, the impact of science in our society is exponential. The scientist should become a more common job, the scientific culture should be known at every level of society. Probably better communication and better education for new generations are good points to start with.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“Today I have learnt about another application of enzymology: vaccines. I have worked in a similar field of Andrea’s research topic, but the final application of my study was very different. With Andrea I have learnt that one scientific approach can have more than one useful application for the human kind.”

Learn more about Andrea's work:
linkedin.com/andrea-marchesi

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“Today I have learnt about another application of enzymology: vaccines. I have worked in a similar field of Andrea’s research topic, but the final application of my study was very different. With Andrea I have learnt that one scientific approach can have more than one useful application for the human kind.”

Birgit Zonsics
PhD of Pharmaceutical Sciences

 

What is your main research topic?

I am a Marie Skłodowska Curie early stage researcher at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University, and my area of research is antiviral drug design. In my PhD project I aim to find new molecules that are active against the Chikungunya virus. I use computational molecular design techniques to select a set of compounds to test in a first antiviral assay. If some of the compounds are active, I will design a set of analogues and synthesize (produce) them so they can be subsequently tested in cell-based and biochemical assays. This is an iterative cycle that leads to improved compounds and maybe a preclinical candidate that can be further developed into a medication against Chikungunya virus one day.

How can I imagine the computational methods that you use?

There are software packages available that contain many functions to play around with chemical molecules and macromolecules, such as protein structures. In my project, I use the crystal structure of a protein, which can be displayed as a sort of 3D image within the program, and I can investigate the surface of the protein itself. Then, there are tools that “dock” compounds (from a virtual compound collection or a commercially available catalogue of molecules) into these cavities and evaluate which molecules fit best. These molecules are the ones we eventually select and synthesize or buy to see if they possess an effect on the virus as we have predicted with the info from biological tests and our computational tools.

How did you get interested in this particular topic?

While studying pharmacy at University of Vienna, I developed a strong interest for computational molecular design. I aimed to do the research project for my diploma thesis abroad and found a supporter in Prof. Gerhard Ecker, who was willing to create a collaborative research project with Prof. Gisbert Schneider at ETH in Zurich. The project was centered around HIV protease and was using a computational de-novo design software developed in Prof. Schneider’s research group. I used this software to generate new potential HIV protease inhibitors, synthesized them and tested the resulting molecules for activity.

This was the beginning of my fascination for antiviral research and the use of computational techniques to facilitate drug discovery for medicinal chemists.

After my graduation from University of Vienna as Magistra der Pharmazie, I worked for one year under training and supervision in a pharmacy to obtain the approval as an independent pharmacist. During this time, I encountered many HIV patients due to the close proximity of a specialized GP. Talking to patients, my desire to make an impact on these people’s lives strengthened and led me to actively look for positions in this field.

I am very grateful for having encountered Prof. Thierry Langer, who was willing to take me as a PhD student in his lab, but was also involved in a European Training Network with the goal of developing new antivirals. Given my experience during my diploma thesis, he encouraged me to apply for a position within the Antivirals network. Eventually I was accepted by Prof. Andrea Brancale at Cardiff University where I started my PhD project in October 2015.

Tell me more about the Antivirals Training Network

It is a project funded under the Horizon 2020 grant agreements of the European Union, and aims at forming a strong network of early stage researchers and developing them into the future leaders in the antivirals field. All students were hired either by a university research group or a company. We are 15 students with very different backgrounds, from computational and medicinal chemists to biologists and virologists. Every one of us has their own PhD project, but we have many possibilities to interact and to collaborate with each other. During the 3 years of the project we also met every 6 months together with our professors and supervisors to receive training and mentoring in various fields related to antiviral drug discovery. Furthermore, we had several activities and trainings related to our personal (career) development.

So, you all collaborate with each other?

Yes! One of the big advantages within the Antivirals training network is the collaborative nature of the project. Although every PhD student in every institution is working on their own independent project, there are a lot of overlaps and synergies that can be turned into fruitful collaborations. All the cell-based assays are performed by colleagues from KU Leuven, and there is also time and funding to develop new and complementary skills. I did a secondment for two weeks in Marseille at the AFMB as well. The group there was working in structural biology to get crystallographic data as well as develop functional assays that can enhance drug discovery in a substantial way.

My favorite collaboration is the one where one of our fellow PhD students (a virologist) came with a freshly published paper of a crystal structure asking me and my colleague if we could do some work on it. Together we designed a stand-alone project that ran very successfully up to now, and parts of it will be published soon.

What motivated you to enter this field of study?

The impact that it makes for the patient. Furthermore, I really like challenges (the reason why I went into medicinal chemistry in the first place) and new innovative methods (that’s how I chose the computational part).

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?

The alarm? No, I am joking, but I prefer to tell you what makes me want to return from holidays: the itching feeling that there is something I haven’t looked at before. I get very excited and curious about new results or about a new idea I would like to investigate.

What really inspires me is listening and talking to charismatic, open-minded people. I am fascinated by the ways science can be communicated to various different audiences, and to see that already these interactions can change people’s lives (in the broadest sense you can imagine here: professors inspiring students, patient stories to scientists and back, children with a dream of groundbreaking new innovations, links between disciplines that did not relate at all, etc…). I am interested in many different fields, not only medicinal chemistry. If I had a couple more lives I would probably study various different subjects like Physics, History, Languages, maybe even something related to Art or Music.

Where do you see yourself in 15 years?

This is a difficult question to answer: There are two faces to that coin: The dream-version and the realistic one. I truly believe that the right opportunities arrive at the right moment, and if we are ready for them, we will be able to take the right decision. But in order to appreciate these opportunities there must be a goal. At the moment my goal is to find my path in the world of academic research and teaching, maybe with a little detour to industry and a little break to start my own family. So if all my dreams work out, I see myself in the auditorium N. 8 at the pharmaceutical institute in Vienna giving a lecture about antiviral drug discovery. I will have several students to supervise and a little research group with a strong common goal: fighting viral infections by all possible means. After work I will pick up my children from school and maybe I will find time for dance lessons with my husband. From time to time I will see my international friends and colleagues at international conferences and visits, and I am striving to tighten and maintain the collaborations with my former colleagues from the industry.

And if the dream part does not perfectly work out, I at least know that I have acquired valuable competences to be employable and that I have set the first stone to a happy life. I will start walking in the direction that seems right, and if I don’t like the path anymore, I will look for another option. It’s all about the willingness to explore and to accept changes when they happen.

What makes life meaningful?

Passing on knowledge to a new generation. Inspiring others to do better than they thought they would. And contributing to make the world a better, fairer, safer and healthier place to be.

If you could, what would you tell your future self?

Never get too comfortable and secure in your setup if you want the magic to happen! And be brave, the only barriers that exist are in your own mind. Keep a critical and curious mind, and never stop trying to become a better scientist and a better human being.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I have always heard about the Horizon 2020 grant agreement of the EU, but I had never really met a student funded by it until I have interviewed Birgit. She was able to collaborate with one other student in virology and design a brand-new research project. It is nice to see as these kinds of grants actually promote PhD projects and collaboration from all over the Europe.”

Learn more about Birgit's work:
linkedin.com/birgit-zonsics

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I have always heard about the Horizon 2020 grant agreement of the EU, but I had never really met a student funded by it until I have interviewed Birgit. She was able to collaborate with one other student in virology and design a brand-new research project. It is nice to see as these kinds of grants actually promote PhD projects and collaboration from all over the Europe.”

Federica Diofano
PhD Student of Medicine

 

What do you do your PhD in and what is your main research topic?

I’m Federica and I’m a PhD student in the Molecular Cardiology Lab (Prof. Steffen Just) at the Universitätklinikum Ulm. The main topic of our group is to describe, by in vitro and in vivo approaches, the events leading to the development of the heart and to use this information for the development of novel therapeutic options for heart diseases.

How did you get interested in this particular topic?

The heart is an extraordinary organ that can be considered the motor of the human body and for this reason, I think, it’s very important to try to know as much it’s possible about it. Especially because, in the world, cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death. Also, I started to be fascinated by the heart and its physiology during the study for my master degree. After my graduation, before I started to look for a position in the cardiology field, I worked for one year in a cancer biology lab and immunology lab. This experience helped me to not only acquire experiences in other fields, but also to understand what I really want to do in my life.

Tell me more about it.

My PhD project focuses its attention on the myofibrillogenesis, which is the process leading to the formation of adult muscular system. Disruption in this process can lead to skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases like the dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Since, up to now, the process of myofibrillogenesis is not completely understood and the function of some involved components needs still to be analyzed, in my project I‘m focusing the attention on some components to better understand the interaction pathway.

Is yours going to be a new approach?

No, it is not a new approach. It’s a “classical approach”; I’m using zebrafish as model organisms and I’m doing in vitro (cell culture) experiments.

Do you also collaborate with other research groups? If so, tell me about it.

At the moment I’m not collaborating with other groups.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?

Every morning I wake up so grateful to the universe because I have the opportunity to do what I really love. For me, it would be very hard get out of bed to do a job I do not like.

A few years ago, during a meeting, a professor said “You can’t stop a biological process”, so this sentence inspires me every day because it means that we still have a lot to learn.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Sincerely, I don’t like to do long term planning. I like to think that the world is so big and there are a lot of chances to take and experiences to live. Up to now, the only plans that I have are to get my PhD and be a good researcher. Where? I don’t know. Let’s keep in touch and I will let you know!

What makes life meaningful?

Knowing that every day there is something to learn and I will never finish learning.

What does the world need the most right now, in your opinion?

Right now people need to become aware of the fragility of the Earth. We should take care of our planet and preserve it for the next generations.

What does science need the most right now, in your opinion?

I think that today, science needs good communicators. Right now, scientists are not able to communicate with the “not scientists” in a clear and simple language, and for this reason people often misunderstand the “scientific messages”. Maybe it is time for scientists to learn how to communicate with the non-scientific community.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I was impressed by Federica’s research project as she is the first scientist I have personally met who is studying the heart. You can see her passion for this magnificent organ coming through her words.”

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I was impressed by Federica’s research project as she is the first scientist I have personally met who is studying the heart. You can see her passion for this magnificent organ coming through her words.”

Florence Yunh
PhD of Chemistry

 

Which field is your research topic in?

I am working in the chemistry research field. My PhD project involves organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Tell me more about it.

I am a PhD student at Cardiff University, and I am working on a project that involves a plant protein that produces a class of natural products, called terpenes. These products are the skeleton structure of lots of the drugs we know right now. For example, Taxol™ is a widely used terpene in chemotherapy. I am trying to understand how these proteins work, and exploit what nature gave us to create molecules that would be useful for our society. For example, I use these enzymes to easily produce new molecules which can then be potent drugs. In the lab, I work with living cells to produce the proteins I have mentioned; they will in turn produce compounds of interest, like new medicines.

More specifically, the protein I work with produces amorphadiene, a precursor of artemisinin, the main drug we use right now to fight malaria. We have nowadays several challenges to tackle about this disease. One of these is the resistance towards the drug, which is currently building up, so we are in need of a new treatment. Also, we are trying to make these drugs (artemisinin and derivatives) economically accessible to third world countries, which are the more touched by malaria.

So, are you also developing a new cost-effective approach to make these drugs?

Yes, exactly.

How is yours different from the old approach?

Currently, artemisinin is simply extracted from plants. This is a very destructive process for nature, and definitively expensive. Because every harvest is different, artemisinin yield varies from year to year. Therefore, the price varies a lot in time, which does not make it easy nor simple for third world countries to buy this drug.

What I am trying to do in the lab is to find a faster and reliable way to make artemisinin. How? Using these living cells, from E. coli bacteria, to produce the drug itself. So, instead of manually extracting the drug from the plant, we could, in the future, produce it in the lab, using these cells, in a faster, safer and cheaper way.

Do you also collaborate with other researchers?

Yes, I do. I collaborate with other research groups around the world. Together, we aim to make this whole process scalable, so to produce artemisinin in very big amounts, seeing as right now we are able to produce the drug but in very small quantities.

What motivated you to enter this field of study?

I wanted to bring something positive to society. There are many ways to do that and I think all fields of study are trying to reach that goal. But I believe that working in this field is exploiting my capacities to reach that goal. Also, chemistry is everywhere and I love it!

To you, what would it mean to be successful?

This is a very subjective question. Being successful for me is being happy with my life.

What is happiness, anyway? This is also a very personal question to which I am still looking for an answer. I may have some clues…. Working for something that is going to help society move forward makes me happy. So, I guess working in a place that is looking to improve the world we live in is for me one of the keys to be successful.

What kind of society do you dream of?

I dream of a society where everyone could afford food, basic healthcare, entertainment and education. Also, a society which is not driven only by money and banks, but where our aim is making each other happy, rather than compete with each other and make money. Oh, and something really important, I dream of a society where we all have respect for each other and where we live. We have only one earth, our home, and I think we should try to protect it for future generations.

If you could, what would you tell your younger self?

Try, even if I think I am going to fail because there is no wrong pathway.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I have really enjoyed interviewing Florence. Especially when I have asked her what makes her happy. It is really heart-warming hearing that her happiness is working in a place that tries to make the world a better place. I was expecting a more materialistic answer and I am happy I was wrong. We need more people like Florence in this world.”

Learn more about Florence's work:
linkedin.com/florencehuynh

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I have really enjoyed interviewing Florence. Especially when I have asked her what makes her happy. It is really heart-warming hearing that her happiness is working in a place that tries to make the world a better place. I was expecting a more materialistic answer and I am happy I was wrong. We need more people like Florence in this world.”

Francesco Decataldo
PhD in Physics

What do you do your PhD in and what is your main research topic?

My PhD project is based on the study of innovative ways to use the semiconducting polymer Poly(3,4‐ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) as soft and biocompatible interface between organic world (our bodies) and electronics. I currently work on three main projects: the first one is to study the use of thin film of this material in Organic Electrochemical Transistor (OECT), sensors to monitor tissue growth and the health of different kind of cells; the second one, also explores the use of OECTs but as a tool for detecting the percentage of oxygen diluted in solution (especially in cell medium) instead; finally, the third one is focused on the use of thin layer of PEDOT:PSS on gold electrodes patterned on Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) in order to improve their ability to directly contact and monitor the signal of a peripheral nerve in free moving animals (they are basically stretchable electrodes for monitoring neural activity). The first two projects will have many interesting application in real-time cell growth monitoring to facilitate biomedical and biological research. This is thanks to their ability to check the health status of cell and oxygen level in the cell culture media. The last project will have promising application in electriceutical treatment: instead of chemical treatment of the diseases (standard pharmacological therapy, with drugs), there could be direct monitoring and stimulation of nerve activity connected to the specific inflammatory response or illness to be treated. This could be a less toxic and a much more valid solution to treat our bodies.

How did you get interested in this particular topic? What inspires you?

I started to be interested in science when I was 15, during the science courses and classes at high school. The topic I am doing the PhD in, immediately caught my attention when Professor Beatrice Fraboni introduced me into this world. The ability to project, make and study new devices that can be used to improve human healthcare is something that really encourages me, as well as the multidisciplinary of this topics.

Tell me a bit more about your topic.

My topic is a multidisciplinary approach towards biology: chemistry, physic and electronic blended together to fill the gap between our common sensor, monitoring devices and the human body. The first topic in particular use thin film of PEDOT:PSS material, on which cells are directly grown thanks to the bio-compatibility of the conducting polymer; the transistor configuration enhances the signal response of our devices, allowing us to have a real-time monitoring able to detect cell membrane disruption in the order of tenth of seconds, so very fast! The second project is still a very fresh research topic but has already given some results about the possibility to detect small percentage of oxygen. Finally, the stretchable microelectrodes implanted on a free moving rat allowed us to monitor the signal of the peripheral nerve under study for different weeks, with low damage of the nerve.

Are yours going to be new approaches?

To the best of our knowledge, yes they are. Especially the third one (thin layer material patterned with gold) would be of great interest because many attempts have been done in the past to develop or fabricate devices able to monitor neural signal without being invasive, but none with the materials we are using. The previous attempts with conductive polymers usually were more invasive and directly penetrate in the nerve instead of being attached just from one side of the nerve itself.

What does science need the most right now?

My opinion is that science needs more followers right now: scientists of all over the world are not known at all, even if their work is amazing and they are close to win the Nobel Prize. Social media, TVs, radios and so on should talk more about scientific work and development, trying to spread the interest for science. This would bring more funding, and consequently more people working on scientific topics.

What kind of impact would you like to have in our world?

I would like to be able to develop devices (and make them available to people) that improve people’s healthcare or that could be useful for diagnosis or therapy treatment.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? what inspires you?

The world itself is full of wonders and every day at work, school or with friends I am always increasing my knowledge and capability. The desire to improve myself and grow up is what makes me go on everyday. My colleagues. in particular. They are a source of inspiration for the struggle and passion they put in their work.

If you could change one thing in our society, what will it be?

I think it would be the selfishness/narrow-mind/scientific secret. Science is born from collaboration between scientists and from sharing ideas and interests: the possibility to talk about your own work and ask for suggestions is what brings science to high level.

What makes life meaningful?

People: family, friends, mates and colleagues.

What is your personal and professional dream?

Well, as a scientist it will be to win the Nobel Prize of course. But I would be satisfied even if I could be able to continue my scientific work, get the funding, build a research team, get the materials and consumables necessary to do research, trying to reach a good level of knowledge in order to really develop something useful for people’s health.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I am a biochemist myself but listening to Francesco’s story I was really impressed by his multidisciplinary approach to biology. He studies chemistry, physics, and electronics all together to implement a biomedical device. Impressive. Also, I agree with his vision on what science needs more nowadays: make the people more aware, basically more marketing to non-scientific people.”

Learn more about Francesco's work:
linkedin.com/francesco-decataldo

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I am a biochemist myself but listening to Francesco’s story I was really impressed by his multidisciplinary approach to biology. He studies chemistry, physics, and electronics all together to implement a biomedical device. Impressive. Also, I agree with his vision on what science needs more nowadays: make the people more aware, basically more marketing to non-scientific people.”

Martina Riberto
PhD student
in Cognitive Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology

What is your main research topic?

I am a PhD student in Cognitive Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology. I am interested in how our brain elaborates emotional events and how we make judgments about them. In particular, my PhD project aims at investigating how our brain functions when we judge the similarity between emotional experiences in mentally healthy people.

What do you mean with emotional events?

Events that have an emotional impact in someone’s life. For example, passing an important exam is an emotional event, brushing your teeth is a non-emotional event.

Which approach do you use? Is this a new approach?

This is a new topic. No one in the past has investigated the judgement of similarity between emotional events, but only between neutral or non-emotional events. And yes, we use a new approach, as we want to combine different techniques, such as Functional Resonance Magnetic Imaging (FMRI), and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). FMRI allows us to see which areas of the brain activate during an action, while the TMS allows us to identify which of those areas are directly involved in that action. These are not-invasive research methods that allow to explore in vivo the functioning of brain. That means we will be studying the functioning of the brain in real time, when the brain is actually functioning.

You also collaborate with other researchers?

Yes. My PhD project was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. I will move there this September and I will stay there for 2 years. So, yes, it is an international collaboration.

What motivated you to enter this field of study?

I’ve always been very interested in emotions, at first because I am a very emotional and passionate person, so I want to understand where these aspects come from. Then, I think that perceiving and elaborating emotions is something that makes human beings unique species. I mean, animals perceive emotion as well, but I think emotions are the core of human life story. And finally, it’s very interesting from a clinical perspective: I am a clinical psychologist, and most of psychiatry/psychological disorders I’ve worked with when I was in Italy, in San Raffaele Hospital, involved emotional disturbances, and I want to do my best to try to also solve their problem, or at least help those patients to cope better with their disorder.

What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?

This is a very interesting question. At first it is, of course, the passion for my job. But mainly it is my curiosity and my sense of adventure. With this I mean that this PhD is not only a chance to grow in terms of professional experience, but it is an adventure that started when I moved to Manchester, will continue when I move to Israel this September, and will end when I am back here in Manchester again. So, all this travelling is a way to challenge myself, day after day, and I will have the opportunity to see how I will cope with living in different places, meeting people from different cultures. In summary, how will I react towards all these experiences that are awaiting me. This really gets me going.

To you, what would it mean to be successful?

From a professional point of view, being successful for me is having the opportunity or being lucky enough to have a job that you really love in a nice, friendly, non-stressful environment. From a personal point of view, it is really simple in my opinion; being loved by someone that you love as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ahha, maybe living in Tenerife with my sister. I am only joking. I don’t know, actually. It depends on what the future will offer me. Right now, I really like this job, I like doing research and I feel that it also fits with me and my personality. So maybe, in 10 years I’ll be a lecturer trying to to enrich my students with my knowledge and experiences, and I will be enriched as well from their experiences, reasoning and thinking … a bidirectional enrichment, basically. But I am not sure, that’s all I can tell. Many things can change, right?

What makes life meaningful?

Oh, this is very easy for me. Human relationships. Any kind of relationship. Choose one, it is essential for a meaningful life.

What kind of society do you dream of?

I dream of a more spiritual society. I mean a society where money, power and material things play a less important role than now, where people don’t waste their time posting a fake life on social media, or struggling for the material aspects of life, but rather try to enrich their soul and mind. Utopia!

Do you have a personal dream?

Yes, it’s very simple actually, maybe banal but it’s my dream… I want to have a happy and healthy family. The rest will be a consequence of it.

If you could, what would you tell your younger self?

Don’t fight against yourself. Freely be what you are!

If you could, what would you tell your future self?

Remember that you’re capable of things you didn’t even know were possible.

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I was really impressed by the passion that Martina had while describing her PhD topic, and how the fact that she is a very emotional person made her very interested in study human emotion at the point she is doing a Ph.D. on them. It really makes me think how our personalities can define our passions and our carries.”

 

Conversation by:
Marianna Loizzi

“I was really impressed by the passion that Martina had while describing her PhD topic, and how the fact that she is a very emotional person made her very interested in study human emotion at the point she is doing a Ph.D. on them. It really makes me think how our personalities can define our passions and our carries.”

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