“Science can answer 99% of the questions you ask”

In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, some of InnovPlantProtect’s women researchers share the reasons they became scientists.

“I became a scientist for the thrill of being able to discover something new every day and a plant scientist in particular with the dream of producing plants resistant to pathogens, avoiding the need for chemical pesticides. A win-win solution to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture and the production costs to small farmers.”

Cristina Azevedo, PhD researcher, Head of the New Biopesticides Department

“Ever since I was a child, I always felt drawn to nature, particularly at the beach, where I would explore sea life, but also at my grandparents’ vegetable garden, where I loved to play. The fact that my mother is really passionate about nature, particularly about plants and birds, also played a role when I decided to apply for Biology. On top of that, there’s my desire to understand the world around me; being a scientist allows me to ask questions and work towards an answer, and that moment when you discover something new in the lab is still beyond thrilling.”

Cláudia Rato da Silva, PhD researcher, Protection of Specific Crops Department

“I have had a passion for technology and science since childhood, so I decided to pursue my career in a computer science discipline in which Artificial Intelligence is one the great research fields, which could help to solve complex problems of nearly every field. ‘The human brain cannot deal with terabytes but Machine Learning can!’ Hence I was inspired to do research in this field.”

Manisha Sirsat, PhD researcher, Department of Data Management and Risk Analysis

Cláudia Almeida Silva
Cátia Patrício
Ana Cláudia Silva

“When I was younger, I used to ask my parents ‘Why this happens?’ or ‘Why this works the way it does?’ Most of the questions were ‘Why?’ and my parents didn’t know how to answer, so they encouraged me to go look for it. From then on, I didn’t ask my parents anymore. I would search for the answer. That feeling did not disappear as I grew up. So, during my school years, I always searched for the answer to the question ‘Why?’. When I was in 12th grade, I had to choose my college degree and it was very difficult to choose between all the available courses, but I knew that it would be related to science, because 99% of the questions that you ask, Science can answer it. And that was the moment that I decided to become a scientist – to search for the answers to my questions. Science is a part of our life, Science is in everything, with Science you can change the world.”

Cláudia Almeida Silva, MSc researcher, Department of New Formulations and Matrices for the Application of Biopesticides

“I decided to become a scientist when my father got sick, and I knew that I should contribute to science to help answer the questions that still had no answers. This profession showed me that there are many things that we already know but, on the other hand, there is much more that we need to discover and learn. The idea that small discoveries that you can make can lead to the solution of big problems is gratifying to me.”

Cátia Patrício, MSc Researcher, Department of New Biopesticides

“As an undergraduate, I started collaborating in a Nematology laboratory at the University where I was studying. There began my passion for science, and particularly for phytopathology. Since then, I have been gaining more knowledge and working in this topic, and it is a great pleasure for me to be able to keep on following this career at the InnovPlantProtect CoLab, with such a prodigious team of women and men scientists.”

Ana Cláudia Silva, MSc Researcher, Department of New Biopesticides

“I didn’t always want to become a scientist. One thing I did know was that I had been forever fascinated with my surroundings, nature at its finest. And there was this random driving force that made me question things, as though I felt an overwhelming need to pursue all the answers.  Why is everything the way it is? Why is that leaf falling from the tree? Questioning, and an overall endless curiosity, that’s what made me become ‘sort-of-a-scientist’”.

Maria Miguel Pires, MSc Researcher, Department of New Biopesticides

“Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with nature, how plants survive on rainy days, how the dough rises, how the grape juice that I could drink turns into something that I was not allowed to… at the end of the day, how life makes sense! So, I wanted to know more and more, and that curiosity made me pursue life sciences.”

Diana Pimentel, PhD researcher/ Biostatistics Technician, Department of Data Management and Risk Analysis

“Isn’t it fascinating how the tiniest organisms can affect a whole ecosystem? And, even more so, to understand how they work and how we can fight or improve them? This feeling was what made me pursue a scientific career. Science is non-stop challenges but is also non-stop knowledge and progress.”

Jordana Branco, MSc researcher, Department of New Biopesticides

Diana Sousa

“I have always loved nature and helping people, in order to always contribute to a more sustainable world and better health for all people. I confess that I was also fascinated by the investigation, due to CSI. Ahahah And that´s why I became a scientific researcher, always ready to promote a better world.”

Diana Sousa, MSc researcher, Department Protection of Specific Crops

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