Angela Relogio was one of 15 former EMBLers who participated at the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) Career Day in Berlin, representing the EMBL alumni community as speaker and advocate at the EMBL careers stand. Here she tells us about her passion for science, communication and mentoring
“There is a certain thrill about doing science which is contagious, communicable – one gets it and passes it on.” For EMBL alumna Angela Relogio, embarking on groundbreaking research is not enough. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge by teaching, mentoring and encouraging others. Originally from Portugal, Relogio joined EMBL’s International PhD Programme in 1999. After completing her PhD and a postdoc, she moved to Berlin’s Humboldt University to become a research scientist at the Institute for Theoretical Biology. Relogio then moved to the Charité Medical University in Berlin, where she has been a research group leader in the Molecular Cancer Research Centre since 2014.
The EMBL spirit embodies an incredible thirst for knowledge and an infinite curiosity
When leaving EMBL in Heidelberg, Relogio took with her what she calls “the EMBL spirit.” “The EMBL spirit embodies an incredible thirst for knowledge and an infinite curiosity,” she explains. This feeds not only her ongoing activities with the EMBL alumni programme, but also her research, studying the mammalian circadian clock and its role in cancer. But in addition to running her lab, Relogio is active in promoting, communicating and teaching science to students of all ages. “I want to lift the ‘curtain of mystery’ that surrounds scientific work, and encourage young girls in particular to get involved,” she explains. “At almost all stages of a scientific career, one can be of great support to other scientists or scientists-to-be.”
Relogio also applies her diverse experiences to mentoring others. “I advise and discuss problems and uncertainties with colleagues that I also experienced at the same career stage,” she says. “Honesty is crucial: most scientists have had misunderstandings with supervisors, grants that failed, experiments that didn’t work, and papers that just couldn’t get accepted. It is important to talk with others who have also gone through the same situations and to realise that there are many ways to be successful in science.”
But it’s not just science that moves Relogio to inspire others: away from the lab, she is a qualified diving instructor, practices karate and runs half-marathons – all while raising a young family. “It’s quite an adventure, but achievable … using some imagination!”
To study the effect of commonly used drugs on bacterial envelopes, EMBL scientists applied a biochemical assay using a colour reaction. The deeper the red, the stronger the disruptive effect of the drug.