The expert panel

Meet our experts in our expert panel session!

What useful soft- and transferable skills do you acquire during your PhD? What opportunities do PhD students have after they have graduated? During their 20 minute talks, listen to our four experts who all have been, or are currently, in academia as they tell you how they ended up where they are now!

Dr. Sheba Agarwal-Jans, Scientific Editor: Sheba worked at the bench for 15 years before making the dramatic switch to academic publishing. She has been a publisher for Microbiology and Mycology journals for 8 years, and recently switched roles to become a Scientific Editor for the interdisciplinary journal, iScience, powered by Cell Press. In her free time, she runs her science communication blog

Dr. Mónica Serrano, assistant researcher at ITQB NOVA: Mónica Serrano got her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Lisbon in 1997. She did her PhD at ITQB NOVA, in the laboratory of Prof. Adriano O. Henriques, where she studied the regulatory circuits that couple gene expression to morphogenesis during spore development in the model organism Bacillus subtilis. She graduated in 2004. Her postdoctoral work focused on spore differentiation in pathogens such as B. cereus and Clostridium difficile. Since 2014, she is assistant researcher at ITQB NOVA. During the last years she has developed her research activities in the area of bacterial biofilms. Her research addresses the role of conserved sporulation signature genes that are also important for biofilm development and reveal a strong evolutionary link between the two processes. While providing important insights into the process of spore differentiation in the multicellular context of a biofilm, these studies also inspire new solutions to tackle pathogens for which biofilms and the capacity to produce highly resilient spores are virulence factors linked to persistence and dissemination.

Dr. Sam de Decker, Account Manager at Labconsult: Sam de Decker obtained his bachelor- and master’s degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University, graduating with honors in 2013. He finished his PhD at Ghent University focusing on microalgae, combining physiological experiments with genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics to study the evolutionairy processes in Seminavis robusta. He has recently started working as an account manager at Labconsult in Belgium.

Dr. Robert Mansfield, co-founder at Deep Branch Biotechnology: During his PhD in molecular microbiology and time as a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, Robert Mansfield has acquired over five years of experience in developing gas fermentation technologies, with expertise in genetic engineering, microbial fermentation, and molecular biology/biochemistry. Robert has obtained direct experience of biotechnology-sector IP litigation, following a professional internship with Magic Circle law firm, Allen and Overy. He is currently the co-founder at Deep Branch Biotechnology.