My career path
"The path to knowledge is more important than the discovery itself."
I’m vice dean and a full professor within the Faculty of Medicine. I teach third-year students about infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites. My research focus is the biology of Apicomplexa, which are the obligate intracellular parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that is dangerous in pregnant women, and malaria, which still kills around half a million children around the world each year. In our search for new therapeutic targets, we’re trying to identify key parasitic processes and gain insight into what allows the parasites to occupy a niche within our cells.
I’m passionate about having the curiosity to understand, and the excitement of learning and discovering new things every day. I enjoy working in a team and sharing my knowledge with young people from all walks of life. The path to knowledge is more important than the discovery itself. As Gandhi said : “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment.”
My career path. I did a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Zurich, which was quite unusual at the time for someone from French-speaking Switzerland. I then went to California to do a postdoc, branching out into parasitology. After that, I became an independent researcher in Heidelberg and then at Imperial College London, before getting a position as an associate professor at the University of Geneva. In recent years, my research work has become more diversified. I sit on the research council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, which has taught me a lot, as has my role in the dean’s office. I particularly like the human interaction. My life partner has always supported me, and we’ve moved forward by seizing opportunities when they came up along the way. But there were obstacles and compromises as well. Our choices were always driven by our family, although that was never a barrier. Our four children have lived in different countries and changed schools and languages with disconcerting ease.
A downside or obstacle ? There’s not enough time for other activities or assignments. And there aren’t many women in my field.
I’m proud that I get to train and guide the next generation of passionate scientists, trying to make a difference in my own small way.