You have moved multiple times in your career. Why do you think mobility is so important for researchers?
I've worked in the UK, Singapore, and Austria. The kind of work-experience I had in each location was a little bit different. The approaches to the way that science is done are different in each one, also the intensity at which you're expected to work. And that's kind of interesting to know and to see. I’ve got to know a lot of different people, not just people who think exactly the same way that I do. That helped me to get out of my comfort zone.
What was your most valuable experience in your career so far?
My supervisor during my PhD in Singapore left a lot of the driving force of my PhD project to me. That took support away from me but gave me quite a lot of creativity during my project. It taught me to be a very independent researcher quite early on. I think it is important to experience that you're not holding somebody's hand all the way through your PhD, that you are thrown in at the deep end and have to really work independently on your own. It was very difficult, but very useful as well.
Why did you decide to join Joao’s lab and what project are you currently working on?
In his previous work in Zurich, Joao’s lab has found a chromatin remodeler in budding yeast, which seems to be important for the exchange of genetic material between maternal and paternal chromosomes during meiosis. I first met Joao in 2018 at a conference where he presented his work. We talked about how he would be interested in expanding his research into mammalian systems. The problem is that you can't readily translate what you find in yeast to humans; the ideal systems to do this are mouse models, and I already had experience working with them. I met him again in 2019 and we discussed in detail what I could offer his lab and what he could offer me as a mentor. We are now making meiosis-specific deletions of this chromatin remodeler to investigate whether it has important roles in mammalian meiosis.
What do you hope to achieve in the next five years? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I've been in Austria now for one year. And I think the project is going very well. I have, in addition, brought with me some mouse models from Singapore, which I would also like to investigate, although they follow up on different research questions. So, I would like to gain more experience as a postdoc for a few more years. If things go well, I might try and step up to the next level. This may be in Austria or maybe even a different country after that. It's an interesting life when you get to experience a lot of different countries. Not a stable life, but certainly interesting.