Verena Kriechbaumer is a researcher in the plant cell biology group at Oxford Brookes University. Her current project tries to get plants to clean up methane from soil such as ex-landfill sites or rice paddy fields. Why is that important and how is she going to do it…?Meet her at Soapbox Science in Oxford and find out why plants are amazing! Verena Kriechbaumer is funded by the Royal Microscopical Society and Oxford Brookes University
SS: Verena, how did you get to your current position?
VK: After my PhD in Munich, I have been working at Oxford Brookes University and Sheffield Hallam University on various projects in the areas of protein targeting and plant growth hormone biosynthesis. My current research on how to use plants to detox methane is a project I wanted to pursue for years and last year we were lucky enough to get funding for it.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
VK: My interest in science and mainly genetics was triggered in school already and so it was clear to me what I was going to study. Not that I really knew at that time what it was like to be a scientist but I can’t say I have ever regretted my choice.
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
VK: No single day is the same and in science we are in the lucky position to contribute to new discoveries and technologies on a day-to-day basis whilst interacting with other researchers, students and industry.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?
VK: The interaction with the public and to show that scientist are more than a white lab coat and Birkenstocks.
SS: Sum up in one word your expectations for the day – excitement? Fear? Thrill? Anticipation?
SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?
VK: The way that quite often funding or publications seem to be linked to the big names rather than the quality of the work. Also there should be more focus on the basics of science not every project will make millions but nonetheless is one step further to understanding.
SS: What would be your top recommendation to a female PhD student considering pursuing a career in academia?
VK: Be stubborn and patient, belief in your own strengths and show them off!