Meet Ana Araújo. She holds a highly technical course in Microbiology and a degree in Applied Biology from the University of Minho and started her career in 2011 as a Lab technician at the 3B’s Research Group (Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics) – University of Minho.
She has been always involved with logistics, lab processes, organisation, management, and safety in several laboratories: chemistry, microbiology, biology, cell culture, and animal facilities, among others. In parallel with her work lab routine, she collaborated on some scientific projects in the field of Microbiology, namely the characterization of antibacterial properties in biomaterials and bio compounds to prevent bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on medical devices.
In 2021, she started working at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory as a Cleanroom Technician with the Micro and Nanofabrication team. She is responsible for wet processes and provides logistic support in our cleanroom facility.
Ana, can you tell us a bit about your path and what got you interested in the field of Micro and Nanofabrication?
My journey in the research field began in 2011, a few months after finishing the Microbiology technical course, at the I3B´s Research Institute as a Lab Technician. That was the moment my discovery of the scientific world took place. Only later, and in parallel with my professional career, I decided to attend and obtain a degree in Applied Biology at the University of Minho. During 10 years I had the opportunity to work on the management, logistics, and safety areas of different laboratories from different research areas: chemistry, biology, cell culture, microbiology, animal facilities, etc. It was a rich and diverse experience and I feel that I played an integral and important part in the research. However, beyond management and logistics, I also wanted to experience the other side of the prism, so I began to collaborate on research projects in the field of Microbiology at the same Institute.
My interest in Micro and Nanofabrication began in 2021, at a time when I felt I needed a new challenge in my career. Then, I accepted the great opportunity to work at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory as a Cleanroom Technician. I provide logistical support in the cleanroom facilities and I am responsible for wet processes in internal and industrial projects. I confess that at the beginning I felt as if I was in a parallel world, where micropipettes were replaced by industrial equipment, biological samples, wafers and the lab coat by coverall. But I easily realised that this was an area where all sciences come together to explore and create technology with an impact on society. It was the opening to a “brave new world”.
What is your long-term research goal?
My long-term research goal is to continue to explore challenges, make my best contribution to development and innovation in society, and reinforce the role of a technician. I consider the role of a technician determinant, it helps the researchers in their discoveries, contributing to good laboratory practices, and reflecting a more productive, functional, and organised scientific research.
What advice would you give to young girls who are considering a career in science?
One piece of advice I give to young girls considering a career in science is to take risks and explore new areas. For me, dealing with new challenges is the learning experience needed to make decisions regarding the future. Without this, you will never know which direction you should take.
So, if you are curious, if you like challenges, and if you have a taste for discovery, take a risk! You are guaranteed a challenging and enriching daily life.