Cristina Azevedo

I have been working at the LMCB in Adolfo Saiardi lab
since June 2005. I have joined the lab after finishing my PhD in Plant
Pathology in Norwich, UK. At the time I wanted to change direction into a
new research area and a new model system and I have found here the type
of project and laboratory that I was looking for. I started as a Career
Development Fellow for period of three years which was extended for
another year and in June 2009 I had the great opportunity to become an
Investigator Scientist. The Career Development Fellowships are
fixed-term appointments based on a training program that enable
post-docs to continue their development as researchers. As part of this
training I enrolled in different courses such as “Research grant
application” and “Writing scientific papers” that have already proven to
be very useful. The LMCB is a welcoming and …that provides a great
atmosphere to develop as a scientist. The fact that the lab is located
in Central London, an in particular within the University College
campus, a centre of scientific excellence, allow us to be part of a
growing community of scientists with common interests and where
collaborations are encouraged and easy to established.

In 2007 a group of post-docs formed what is called the “post-doc
voice” which I am an active member ever since. This is a way to bring
the institute’s post-docs together so that we can more easily share our
experiences. There are five main aspects to this group. We organize
themed post-doc evenings; we are represented in the group leaders
meetings; we chair the internal seminar series; we organize post-doc
drinks with the external seminar speakers; and we host an external
seminar speaker a year. In the themed post-docs evenings we invite
external speakers to talk to us about different subjects. Themes such as
“inspirational scientists”, “research grant applications” and
“alternative careers in science” are just a few examples of what we have
organized. These meetings are quite informal and generally take place
four times a year where we all sit around in our coffee room with beers
and pizza and discuss. My active part in this group is to represent the
post-docs at the group leaders meetings.

These meetings are held several times a year and cover a large
agenda of the day-to-day running of the institute and this has given us
the opportunity to express our concerns and to have a voice in many of
aspects or the day-to-day life of the institute. Since this year we have
started chairing our internal seminar series to introduce the speakers
and to stimulate more discussion. As part of our external seminar series
we are also encouraged to have informal discussions with the invited
speakers in a relaxed atmosphere over a drink in a local Pub. This has
been a great way to interact with scientists from all sorts of areas and
to learn from their scientific experiences. As a group we also have
the chance to choose, invite and host an outstanding scientist a year
for the Institute’s external seminar series. During this visit post-docs
are in charge! This is generally a one day visit in which we have 30
min slots where we can talk individually about our work both in the
morning and afternoon. At lunch the speaker is taken out by a few
students. There is an afternoon talk by the speaker followed by informal
drinks with the Group Leaders and an evening dinner with a few
post-docs. This interaction has proven over the years an extraordinary
experience to all of us.

Scientifically the laboratory offers a multidisciplinary environment
with people from all over the world. There is a friendly atmosphere,
great facilities, especially if you project involves a lot of
microscopy, and the institute is small enough that you get to know
everyone by name. The core facilities, such as the media kitchen, are a
great asset of the institute and greatly facilitates our every day life.

Life is good and science is fun at the LMCB!


Number of publications: 9.