After living in Puerto Rico for 19 years, microbiologist Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Ph.D., frequently fields questions about her choice to pursue a career on the small Caribbean island prone to devastating natural disasters.
The U.S. territory’s ecological diversity – from deserts to coral reefs and rainforests – provides endless fodder for research, but “the best thing here is the people,” says Godoy-Vitorino. “There are some very harsh possibilities, but in the chaos it all works out. We help each other.”
The Caribbean is a far cry away from where Godoy-Vitorino grew up, nearly four thousand miles away in the Portuguese countryside. Her father, a nature-loving economist, fostered her curiosity about the world with his stacks of National Geographic magazines. Originally, she dreamt of becoming a photographer, but fell in love with science during her Erasmus experience (a semester of research for European undergraduates) where she studied Cyanobacteria in the Canary Islands.
Today, Godoy-Vitorino’s research focuses on understanding the correlation between HPV and the microbiomes of the vagina and cervix. Her lab is also active in analyzing the role the gut microbiome plays in a person’s response to cancer therapies.
Por Lauren Boyer – https://www.aaas.org/