Published April 2019
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Teresa Carvalho on four occasions during her visit to ANU in April 2019. The first meeting was an informal workshop where Teresa shared some of her journey with the IRTG2290 students. She talked about how she made the decisions to move to various countries at different stages of her career, and how she moved between different research areas. She also talked about some of the hurdles she came across, and what was and would have been helpful in getting past them. In particular, she talked about the importance of mentorship and work-life balance, and developing a wide variety of skills. I particularly enjoyed this workshop because we had the opportunity to chat in a fairly informal setting and get insights into the reality of scientific career paths.
Next was Teresa’s seminar about targeting host cell factors in Plasmodium-infected RBCs. She presented data relating to several research questions, centred around understanding the interactions between parasites and their host cells. This seminar was incredibly relevant to my project, as her research uses protocols that I was intending to use for my own project, and her data can inform the direction my project takes. After her seminar, we had the opportunity to once again meet with Teresa in an informal setting, where we continued the discussion about career paths. Teresa emphasised the importance of interpersonal skills in creating a positive lab environment, as well as having knowledge of a diverse suite of scientific techniques.
I was also able to meet Teresa the following day, to discuss her lab’s research in more detail. She showed me data from one of her PhD students, who is working on a similar aspect of RBC biology to me, although with different aims. Teresa shared valuable insights into methodologies her lab had developed and refined, which I can use in my own project.
Overall, Teresa’s visit to ANU was incredibly valuable to me, both from a scientific point of view and a careers perspective. I am very grateful that I had so many opportunities to meet with her in different contexts, learn from her experiences, shape my project, and broaden my scientific understanding. Her presentation style, interpersonal skills, and willingness to engage with us ensured that we benefited enormously from her visit.
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