Meet FEMS Taskforce: Kiran Gurung and Celia Rodrigues
We are proud to work collectively with a growing community of microbiologists whose voluntary contributions are helping to put microbiology firmly on the map. This month we are joined by Kiran Gurung and Célia Rodrigues who both lead a FEMS Opportunities Board Taskforce project. They are helping to connect microbiologists all over the world with new and exciting microbiology events and courses on the Opportunities Board.
Kiran is a PhD candidate focusing on the microbes associated with the invasive pest insect Drosophila suzukii at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.
Célia is a PharmD and a PhD candidate at the University of Minho, Portugal. She has recently submitted her thesis on Candida glabrata biofilms and the role of the matrix in the resistance to antifungal drugs and regularly contributes to the online Nature Microbiology Community.
What inspired you to get involved with this Taskforce Project with FEMS?
Kiran: “One of my passions is science communication. To me, The Taskforce Project with FEMS provided an excellent opportunity to engage with microbiology related activities. As a microbiologist still in training, it feels great to be able to make some contributions (although small) towards this field. My task here is to post events revolving around microbes.”
Célia: “As a microbiologist, I’ve always been interested in FEMS activities. When I heard about the Taskforce Project and that I could actively participate, I immediately responded to the call. It’s been a privilege and an incredible experience! I belong to the Opportunities Taskforce. We search and publish in the FEMS website, the courses, conferences, seminars and other important microbiology events around the world that might interest any microbiologist.”
What inspired you to be where you are today as a scientist? And what are your future aspirations?
Kiran: “The sight of aphids in my garden led me to where I am now. It was during my last year of Bachelors study when I spotted the green coloured bugs in one of the shrubs. I was unaware of the idea on insect-microbe association then. And one question that immediately popped up in my mind: do these tiny insects harbour microbes? Since then the beauty of these insect-microbial associations have always inspired me to study this association. My future aspirations comprise working with microbes.”
Célia: “I wanted to pursue research since university, when I was invited to collaborate in research projects in the microbiology area, from the second year. The life stories of Marie Cure, Louis
Pasteur or Rosalind Franklin were an inspiration to do it. Also, I have always loved academia and specially the lab work and the amazing opportunity of keep learning every day. I am defending my PhD thesis in May so, for the future, I hope to continue developing my work and my career in the wonderful world of research and microbiology!”
What are your passions outside of the scientific landscape?
Kiran: “Actually, I love doing science away from science! But, outside my lab work, I try to find time to pursue my other passions that include wildlife biology, reading classic novels, walking and observing nature.”
Célia: “I really love to walk with my two Pugs, Giulietta and Fiona, to travel with my husband and discover new (and strange) places, to watch good horror/sci-fi series or movies, to eat italian
food, and to visit Art and History museums.”
Which current microbiologists have inspired you in your science journey?
Kiran: “For me every kind of work that happens in the field of microbiology holds significance. Hence, when I read about the ongoing research in microbiology, every microbiologist becomes awe-inspiring. Amidst this, one such amazing figure in the scientific field is Elisabeth Bik of Microbiome Digest.”
Célia: “I admire very much the work of Professors Alistair Brown and Neil Gow from the University of Aberdeen and Prof. Gordon Ramage from University of Glasgow. In the United States, I enjoy the research of Prof. James Masuoka from Midwestern State University and Prof. Jose Lopez-Ribot in the University of Texas.”