At Kerafast, we understand that lab managers play a vital role in the research community through their indispensable contributions to the lab.
This quarter, we invited our community of scientists to nominate their lab manager to enter a random drawing for the chance to win a $1000 gift card plus $250 for their respective labs. One of our two winners was Ilma Marçal at the Drug Research and Development Center, Institute of Biological Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Ilma is a lab manager in the lab at the Drug Research and Development Center – Institute of Biological Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais. The lab focuses on several different areas of research like immunology and genetics.
We spoke with Ilma to learn more about her role as a lab manager in the Salcedo Lab. Ilma shared her passion for research (and singing), any advice she has for young researchers, and how Mauro Teixeira taught her.
- What does a typical day look like in your position?
My routine is always fast paced. I start the day by checking emails and answering suppliers about purchases made for the laboratory. Once this is done, I move on to organizing our work environment, whether it is replenishing materials, responding to requests from students throughout the day, or delegating functions and organizing the routine of the other technicians.
- What area of research does your lab focus on?
We are a multi-user Research Center. In this way, we concentrate on several areas of research, such as biochemistry and immunology, genetics, morphology, and microbiology. All areas are focused on drug development and, currently, we have several fronts of study related to COVID-19 and other viral, fungal and bacterial diseases, in addition to non-infectious diseases.
- Why did you decide to pursue a career in research? What do you enjoy about the field?
I love what I do, I like to be there contributing, being able to help in some way, and knowing that our group contributes to science through the various findings that research allows us to do. For me, it is great to be part of the scientific discoveries of the laboratory of which I am a part.
- What are some recent trends in your field of research, and where do you see future research moving towards?
In this context of a pandemic, we have seen a race for therapeutic tools and the development of drugs capable of curing COVID-19 along with the commitment and great advances in vaccination programs against COVID-19 and dengue control in our city, Belo Horizonte. At the same time, we have seen how drug repositioning and targeting can help accelerate this process of finding solutions to new problems. I believe that this is a tendency to bring greater celerity to situations such as those faced nowadays.
- What advice do you have for young researchers looking to pursue this career?
The participation of young people in science is very important and they come, every day, full of ideas and a desire to learn. It is important that they have team spirit, perseverance and do not give up in the middle of the way, because we know that it is increasingly difficult to get resources to continue with the research.
- What is a technology that interests you that you wish you knew more about?
I really like the technologies related to the logistics area, productivity software and automation mechanisms, as they provide us with benefits such as cost reduction, increased productivity, increased quality control, management improvements, that provides optimization of the work as a whole. With everything we are experiencing today, in context of the pandemic, I would love to know more and be able to contribute to the new technologies developed in the health area.
- What activities outside of work are you passionate about? What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to be at home or on a farm, with my family, enjoying a barbecue, drinking wine, listening to, and singing songs.
- Who is your favorite scientist, and in what ways are you inspired by them?
Dr. Mauro Teixeira, with whom I have worked for many years, inspires me in the opportunities he creates and shares; in the approach he promotes between clinical research and basic research; in the training of new professionals who care for patients; in the vision of the future by supporting interdisciplinarity as a form of growth and scientific advancement aimed at health and by the reference he is to the students and different professionals who are by his side. Additionally, he helps me to see that it is always time to learn, to create new habits and share knowledge, as this way we contribute to the growth of new generations and progress professionally and personally. In addition to him, I am also inspired by all the scientists I work with daily, whether teachers or students. We grow up together and each one share different personal experiences and scientific aiming at the best.
- How would your friends describe you?
A person who cannot hide what she feels, funny and at the same time serious, systematic, fair, a perfectionist who likes everything organized, who values and promotes good interaction between all the members of the group, and who does not measure efforts to help all.
- Lastly, what would you say is the most important part of being an effective manager?
Organization, I say this thinking about the whole set. It is important to be able to organize yourself in all areas of life and thus be able to manage and command what is destined for you. I think we are born with this gift of leadership, the desire to always help others and be ready to remove the obstacles we encounter in our daily lives.