Meet new blogger: Tatiana

This being my first blog entry, it must almost by definition be an introductory post. Major aim: by the end of it you should be able to describe me in a short sentence. Subaims:  to guess what my blog tendencies are – and possibly decide if you are interested in knowing more (at the end of the day, first impressions are very impactful. Nobody reads a paper if they are not intrigued by the abstract).

I am Tatiana Álvarez, I’m a woman (phenomenally) and PhD student at KI. I study ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation and try to find small molecules that can modulate this system – primarily, inhibit it to eliminate cancer cells, which depend on effective ways of getting rid of their waste before intoxicating themselves. 

Back at school, I never thought on becoming a scientist. I could not wait to finish high school to finally stop studying math and focus instead on what I thought would be a career in journalism. In the Spanish system, you choose an elective track for your last two years of high school – technology, life sciences, social sciences, arts, or humanities. It made full sense to me that journalism + not good at math = humanities. Still, I struggled and had a very stressful summer break because I felt bad closing the door to a whole spectrum of knowledge. Enrolled to humanities anyway. After my first Latin class, I went down to reception and asked if I could change my elective track, “as soon as possible”. “What do you want to do?” Life sciences, I found myself convincingly answering. I was terrified and thought I would not make it, but there I was, applying to the life sciences track. With math, chemistry and everything. Well, there is no regret whatsoever. However, a part of me never left the humanities track.

And here is where we reach the part about my blog tendencies: I am fascinated by people, their stories (including, if they do science, their discoveries) and how to communicate them. Not only with words, but in a myriad of channels. What I aim to do here is to share some of my thoughts about the eternal struggle of a generalist in a rather specialized environment, and to do some peer review: what drives us to make science, and ultimately laugh a bit about it – about us. I will complement all these with, I will try, interesting resources. Worst comes to worst, you could skip all my writing and still get something cool out of coming here.

Thanks for reading, and welcome!

Learning to see: Gloomy Sunday, by multidisciplinary artist Memo Akten. In this work, deep learning algorithms are trained with large datasets of images (e.g, coastal landscapes) and later on exposed to common objects. Having only “seen” the sea before, the network tries to match what it sees to what it knows. Same with us: we see the world the way we are. I share a bit of me in every post so you can, hopefully, relate to how I see the world. You can find more about “Learning to see” here: http://www.memo.tv/works/learning-to-see/

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