Those who attended our April symposium remember an engaging diversity breakout session led by Dr. Louise Horsfall. Now she provides with her own insights at our new "3 Questions For" interview. Louise, a Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, is interested in multidisciplinary challenges involving Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. Read more about her research here and follow her on Twitter.
When and why did you move into the field of synthetic biology?
During my first postdoc I received some great career advice and was pointed in the direction of synthetic biology as a new and potentially important field. Once I found out a little more about the area, I made sure that my next postdoc position was in a synthetic biology lab.
What is the single most important piece of advice that you would give to a current PhD student or a post-doc?
Irrespective of field, I think that PhD students and post-docs need to consider the environment they want to work in, as well as the research area, when choosing laboratories. I was completely inspired when I got to work in a supportive, interdisciplinary research environment that encouraged independence, industrial collaboration and outreach, and it was only then that I realised with certainty that I wanted a career in academia.
In which areas do see the main challenges and opportunities for synthetic biology?
I think synthetic biology offers us the opportunity to move towards a more sustainable and circular economy, but it is a challenge to understand and appreciate just how far-reaching this opportunity actually is. With a technology that includes biology in its name, it is understandable that it is assumed that any impact will be on the bioeconomy but we need to challenge ourselves to think beyond this.