Faces of Science, my interview

faces of science felix moronta

Matthew Ward, a former scientist and a long-term advocate of science careers, wants to use #FacesOfScience project for generating awareness of the different paths within a career and how science is impacting the world around us.

As I share his values on science, I kindly agreed to be interviewed by him. The results are in the following lines and in the amazing figure he has made about me.

Here is a piece of my story and my thoughts. I would love to know yours or your thoughts about this. Please, enjoy!

Felix a Postdoc at ICGEB working on the plant bacterial microbiome, follow his story on @moronafelix.
Q: What first drew you to science?

A: Ever since I can remember, I was amazed at the natural phenomena. Like any child, the number of questions, unknowns and natural “mysteries” overwhelmed me. My interests became my professions when I chose a career in biology research.

Q: What are you doing now, and what is the most enjoyable part of your job?

A: As a postdoctoral researcher I investigate the plant bacterial microbiome. I am focused on the bacterial communities that are capable of colonizing the inner tissue of the plants. If we knew the drivers behind these processes, we could use the beneficial bacteria for improving our food production.

I love to learn and every day is a learning experience, not only the science but also other human aspects that come from sharing space with colleagues, learning from different cultures and disciplines.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?

A: First, the nomadic nature of this career when you are raising a family is difficult. My wife, my daughter and I have lived in three countries in the last 5 years. It has been a great challenge to balance family and work. However, I am lucky that they understand and support me when I have to work nights and weekends.
Second are the typical frustrations of academia and research. The results do not always come out, hypotheses are not always correct, bureaucracy can wear you out,  funds are usually insufficient to investigate as you would like, salaries are usually far from being fair. But the small wins, the love for science and the conviction that I dedicate myself to doing the right thing, and that I do it well, keep my threshold for frustration very high.

Q: What are you hopeful of in the future?

A: As never before, young researchers are concerned about global problems that know no borders (climate change, epidemics, food security, etc.) and our work serves to build bridges that will help us to face them. I see a growing interest in my colleagues to learn universal skills such as communication, management, leadership or advice. And this trend makes me feel hopeful.

faces of science felix moronta
Art made by StopperSaysDesign

For knowing more about my work please read Bacteria For Feeding the World. Or read the research paper that  I recently published in an Open Access journal entitled Bacteria Microbiota of Rice Roots.

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