Nome: Luísa Figueiredo
Year of Birth: 1975
Place of birth: Porto
City of residence: New York
Time in the US: 6 years
Undergraduate Degree:Bioquímica, Universidade do Porto
Postgraduate Degree: PhD from Universidade do Porto in collaboration with Institut Pasteur (Paris, France)
Current professional status: Research Associate at The Rockefeller University
Professional interests: Epigenetics, Molecular Parasitology
Best career achievement: Always the next paper.
What brought you to the USA?
I came to the US because I wanted to understand why biomedical research is so successful in this country. I learned that money makes a big difference, but the most important factor is peoples mentality. Outstanding professionals are those that are dedicated, hard-workers and, above all, whose standards are always very high.
In what are you currently working on?
My interests lie in a parasite called Trypanosoma brucei, which causes Sleeping Sickness in people who live in Sub-Saharan Africa. This parasite is capable of escaping our immune defences by changing its surface coat. My goal is to understand how the parasite changes coats. As a scientist, I swing between my computer and the bench where I work with pipettes, toxic chemicals and microscopes. Sorry, there are no mysterious white fumes!
What conditions do you have here that you do not have in Portugal?
Professionally? Two main things: a critical mass of very talented people and regular funding. At Rockefeller and in most institutions in New York, there are simply a lot of bright minds. Unlike the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are a reliable source of funding that opens calls in a regular basis, which allows scientists to plan ahead and decide the best timing to apply for a grant. In my personal life? Restaurants from all over the world and the diversity of races, religions and languages.
What are your future plans?
Establish my own lab. Then I will be paid to do the research I want. ;-)
Why did you join PAPS?
Some friends were part of PAPS and told me about this society when I was in my 2nd year in New York. I found it was a great initiative to network with other Portuguese graduates in the US and to keep in touch with the reality in Portugal. I worked in Duarte Barral and Joao Castros Executive Committees..
|Favourite source of news from Portugal:
|| Publico, O Jogo. Several podcasts: Quadratura do Circulo (SIC), Entrevista com Maria Flor Pedroso, Governo Sombra, Portugalex (Antena 1)
|Daily life (weekdays):
||Get up at 7am, arrive in the lab at 8:30am, work, work, work, go to the gym at 6pm, have a light dinner at home prepared by my husband or order a Chinese delivery, watch a TV show or listen to Podcasts before going to bed.
|Daily life (weekends):
|| I dont really have a pattern for weekends. Thank God! But most of them involve sleeping in, Skyping with friends and family for a couple of hours, listening to F.C. Porto beating some other Portuguese team ;-) , going out with friends to a nice restaurant (carefully selected in the Michelin guide), cooking, catching a movie and briefly coming to the lab. In the summers, we tend to do some escapades outside the city: Catskills, Cape Cod, The Hamptons, etc.
||Photography, traveling, watching soccer, playing Volley-ball and skiing.