Carina Soares-Cunha, researcher and neuroscientist at the Institute for Research in Life and Health Sciences, University of Minho, winner of the L'Oréal Medal of Honor for Women in Science in 2022, describes her scientific work and tells us how "developing a research career in Portugal is very challenging, but also very motivating, because through research you can answer many questions that are around you and that can, in fact, have a very positive impact on society."
During the month of March, the FCCN Unit joins GÉANT's #WomenInSTEM campaign, giving the opinions of several guests in the STEM fields, in an interview.
CS-C: My name is Carina Soares Cunha and I'm a researcher at the Institute for Research and Life and Health Sciences at the University of Minho.
- When and why did you become interested in STEM? Was this your dream as a child/teenager?
CS-C: I am a neuroscientist, being a biologist by training, as it has always been an area that fascinated me since my younger days.
- How does your work contribute to science, innovation and knowledge creation? How does your work impact the world?
CS-C: Right now I'm doing research in neuroscience, with the goal of finding which circuits in the brain allow us to obtain rewards and avoid dangers, in order to contribute to our well-being.
- What do you hope to accomplish professionally (a goal/dream)?
CS-C: I very much hope that my research in the future will serve as inspiration for the development of new and more effective therapies to treat diseases related to these brain circuits, because I believe that then my work will indeed be valued.
- What inspiring message or advice would you give to young girls interested in a career in STEM?
CS-C: What I can tell girls who intend to develop their research in STEM is that: developing a research career in Portugal is very challenging, however, it can also be very motivating, very enjoyable, because you can, through your research, answer many questions that are around you and you can, in fact, have a very positive impact on society.
The partnership that gave rise to L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science was concluded in 1998, between UNESCO and L'Oréal, and inspired several local initiatives in some countries where the company is present. Portugal is one of the countries that, in 2004, began awarding the L'Oréal Portugal Medals of Honor for Women in Science - a joint initiative between L 'Oréal Portugal, the National UNESCO Commission - Portugal and the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).