Name: Maria M. Mota
Year of Birth: 1971
Place of birth: Vila N. Gaia, Portugal
City of residence: Lisboa
Years in the US: 3
Undergraduate Degree: Biologia, FCUP
Postgraduate Degree: MsC and PhD, University College London
Current professional status: Principal Investigator / Group Leader
Research interests: Host-pathogen interaction, Malaria
Best career achievement : Having contributed to the elucidation of the life cycle of the malaria parasite as we now know it.
To be or not to be an immigrant in the US
What brought you to the USA?
I carried out my PhD in the UK and then I wanted to move but to continue working in an English-speaking country. In addition, I was very interested in the work performed at NYU by Victor Nussenzweig´s lab and requested an interview with him. This interview went very well and thus the choice after that was natural.
Name the three most valuable lessons you have learned in this country (at work or not).
The 3 main features I have enjoyed very much while living and working in NY were: true enthusiasm, pragmatic view of science and, scientifically speaking, everything is possible.
When did you go back to Portugal? What made you take the decision to go back home?
I have returned to Portugal in 2002 after my post-doctoral experience at NYU. My husband really wanted to return to Portugal and so this was a major driving force for our return. In addition, I really think it is very important for smaller economies to develop a scientific environment as scientific knowledge can be a major source of wealth in the future.
What conditions (other than salary) do you have here that you do not have in Portugal?
What do you think Portugal is still better at?
The quality of life in an urban space is still much better here. Although salaries are lower, it is easier to live in a nice space inside the city with a family. In NY this would require quite a high income.
What would you like to see changed in the Portuguese educational system?
I like very much the principle of a Public School / University that everyone has access to. But I would like to see more rigour in rewarding quality. In addition, it is highly necessary to finish with the inbreeding and favouritism that still haunts some Portuguese Academic institutions.
The daily life in the US
|Favourite news from Portugal:
|Ideal weekend program in your US city:
||Walk around surrounded by people.
NY does not have a Portuguese neighbourhood. Newark used to have one but this is not very Portuguese anymore.