Selena Gimenez Ibanez est espagnole. C’est une jeune chercheuse en phytogénétique moléculaire. Elle travaille sur les plantes au Centre national des biotechnologies de Madrid. Boursière L’Oréal Unesco, elle effectue actuellement un postdoc à la School of Life Science de l’Université de Warwick.
Elle a bien voulu répondre à nos questions et nous explique comment elle a choisi de faire des études en génétique. Une maladie génétique dans sa famille, des récoltes dévastées à la campagne où elle grandit…
Why did you choose to study plant molecular genetics?
In my family there is a genetic disease that suffered one of my cousins. That was the first sign that made me get interested in genetics. But, on the other hand, my family comes from a very rural area from Spain, where people lives from production of wine and olive oil. I was amazed about the importance of pests every year in the happiness of the people. Years with pests, there was no production and people was in trouble whereas good years made the people enjoy. Since I was very little, I was conscious about the dramatic effect of diseases in the life of the people.
What do you realy like in your job?
What I love the most is that it is a very creative job. I was very happy to have bosses that have given me a lot of freedom to develop my ideas with their support and expertise. We are constantly learning, constantly reinventing ourselves and our ways to arrive to the knowledge, to the real solutions.
In Spain a lot of women are doing research: they are 38% among total reaseachers. What is it the result of? Public policies? Less obstacles from parents, professors, less stereotypes?
In Spain, women do not have obstacles to arrive to certain levels, such as doing a PhD. I think the main component is that women in Spain have delayed a lot the timing of having kids in contrast to other countries such as UK and Germany to 35 years old which is pretty late. This personal decision has made possible more women in higher positions. Women know that when you have kids, your personal career is going to be a bit more difficult, so people is delaying this timing. We do not have especial policies for women, but that would be a good idea.