Interview with Beatriz Fontoura, who focuses on the cell biology of viral-host interactions at UT Southwestern
After graduating from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, with a degree in Biochemistry, Beatriz Fontoura pursued a master’s degree in the Paulista School of Medicine in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She then moved to New York where she was awarded a PhD from the New York University School of Medicine. She stayed in New York during her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Cell Biology at The Rockefeller University until she moved to Miami to start her own lab at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Fontoura was recruited4 years later to join UT Southwestern in 2005, where she is currently a Professor of Cell Biology, leading a team that studies interactions of virulence factors from RNA viruses with the host’s processes of mRNA splicing and nuclear export.B
“If you don’t like bacteria, you’re on the wrong planet” – Stewart Brand
When we refer to our gut feelings, we seldom think of what exactly is going on in the gut. Over the past couple of years, studies have shown that our feelings in fact do have a lot to do with the residents of our gut. The gut microbiome consists of a community of microorganisms flourishing and thriving inside the gastrointestinal tract, or gut for short. These microorganisms not only influence our feelings, but also have a huge impact on our metabolism and well-being.
Interview with Jane Johnson, who studies nervous system development at UT Southwestern
After graduating from University of Washington, with a degree in Chemistry, Jane Johnson continued her studies with a PhD in Biochemistry at the same University. She then moved south, from Seattle to Pasadena, to embrace a postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology studying neural development. It was there where she discovered Ascl1, an essential transcription factor in nervous system development that plays a key role in the research of her laboratory. Johnson joined UT Southwestern in 1992, where she is currently a Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Neuroscience, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, and holds the Shirley and William S. McIntyre Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience.
“If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself” –Albert Einstein
We, as scientists, spend a lot of time and effort on our experiments. However, we don’t spend much time as we should be in communicating our science. As an attempt to reconcile this, I grabbed one of the only seats left at the generously populated CoNNECT seminar series. The CoNNECT (Cultivating Narrative for Effective Communication) program is a pilot course in science communication for UTSW trainees. The goal of the program is to teach biomedical trainees to clearly explain their work and its significance through narrative, or storytelling. This seminar was on “How to design an effective talk” by Dr. Shannon Behrman, Associate Director of Scientific Training and Education at iBiology. Based at University of California, San Francisco, iBiology is a nonprofit organization that produces free videos and online courses about life science research.