Name: Marta Maria Gaglia
Hometown: Torino, Italy, European Union
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius (or as I sometimes say, Aquarium)
The Gaglia Lab focuses on virus-cell interactions in infections with the human respiratory virus influenza A virus and the human oncogenic virus Kaposi’s sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV). By studying both RNA and DNA viruses, they have a unique vantage point to observe both conserved and individual mechanisms of host manipulation.
Their goal is to solve scientific puzzles and dig deeper to link molecular events during viral infections to human disease in a supportive environment that fosters learning and growth.
What inspired you to select your field of study?
In my undergraduate Intro to Microbiology class, I learned that at the time (er,1999) measles virus was one of the top causes of childhood death world-wide. It made a big impression on me, as a revelation on the continued relevance of infectious diseases to human health. I took a detour first by doing a PhD in Neuroscience, but when I decided to choose a different field for my postdoctoral fellowship, that memory influenced my choice. (Thanks to vaccination, measles virus is no longer a top cause of childhood death today, by the way).
What is one piece of advice you would give to students?
We are often told that there is one way to do this job and this career – it is not true. If you want to do it, you can do it your own way.
When you’re not in the lab, how do you spend your time?
Reading fantasy and mystery novels, taking walks with my husband, doing yoga, playing board games, making crepe paper flowers, traveling, cooking and baking.
If you didn’t become a scientist, what career would you have pursued?
I am not sure – I love languages, so maybe translating or interpreting?
What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Squid ink risotto at a restaurant in Pisa. I was with a good friend and colleague, and that made the experience more special.
What is the last TV show that you binge-watched?
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation. It would help me get to meetings on time.
If you had a time machine, would go back in time or into the future?