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What did you study in your undergraduate degree?

Marta Nabais
Marta Nabais

BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Why did you choose IMB to undertake your research?

In full honesty, I chose Prof. Naomi Wray's group, not IMB. I got to know her work during a MSc internship, when I was studying the shared genetics of cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis and I always kept it, in the back of my head: "I'll probably apply to her group, one day". However, upon researching the group during my application, IMB felt like the perfect host. A great number of research groups, encompassing a broad range of research fileds; immense advertisements for interesting seminars and events, etc! I was stoked when I was accepted!

Do you have any tips for future students interested in life sciences research?

Make sure you are ready to face rejection. That is the hardest part of doing a PhD or research in general. Getting papers and ideas rejected is part of the scientific process and it takes a toll on your mental health. So make sure you surround yourself with supportive people that will be there in the hardest moments. In the end, it will be worth it, because, no matter how little, you will contribute to the advancement of human knowledge. And that has to be the greatest possible reward.

What research are you currently working on?

I am currently studying DNA methylation variation between different brain disorder (with a focus on neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease). DNA methylation has been shown to be a key regulator of gene expression. Clinical diagnosis of neurological disorders is usually by exclusion, making it a very slow process. Therefore, it's is crucial to identify potential biomarkers (e.g., DNA methylation) in the context of short survival time.

What interested you in joining the IMB Science Ambassador Program?

I have always been very excited about my research and in sharing our scientific discoveries. On the other hand, I have always been an introvert since I can remember...The IMB Science Ambassador Program seems like the perfect program to challenge myself, whilst occasionally allowing me to showcase the amazing science we do at the Institute!

What do you enjoy doing out of free time?

I read a lot (although not as much as I used to) and very much enjoy binge-watching Netflix shows such as GLOW, OITNB, WWII documentaries, etc...I have a huge passion for hip-hop which I practice at least three times a week at Mad Dance House, here in Brisbane. It's been a life saver!