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Spotlight on early-career researchers: an interview with Natalia Castaño-Rodríguez

Dr. Natalia Castaño-Rodríguez is a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales. Her research focuses on understanding how host immunogenetic factors interact with bacterial infection and gut dysbiosis to regulate tumorigenesis and chronic inflammation in humans, using molecular biology, microbiology, genetics, and bioinformatics. As part of our series on early-career researchers, we asked Dr. Castaño-Rodríguez to talk to us about her research and career path. She also shares the lesson she’s learned from studying the bacteria colonizing our stomachs.

Image credit: Natalia Castaño-Rodríguez

In addition, when I commenced my research career, I was convinced that excelling at research was enough but now I know that I must also be successful at networking, teaching, accounting, management and even marketing. All these responsibilities can be sometimes overwhelming. However, we get better with time, more skillful, we also learn to say no, and with good mentorship, we become wiser.

From a personal point of view, I believe it can be sometimes a challenge to have a balanced life, especially for young female researchers. It is important to teach our early career researchers how to have fulfilling lives (lives that include family, friends, hobbies and other activities that lead to well-being) without compromising research output.

This interview was conducted by Associate Editor Jung-Eun Lee.

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Spotlight on early-career researchers: an interview with Natalia Castaño-Rodríguez. Commun Biol 2, 121 (2019).

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