Vasiliki Liaki

Marie Curie Fellow, Doctoral Candidate

Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO)

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Step out of your comfort zone, find your passion and start writing your own story.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

My research focuses on identifying viable therapeutic strategies against pancreatic cancer. I am specifically interested in targeting the tumorigenic signaling of advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, using genetically engineered mouse tumor models and patient-derived organoids.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I have been interested in the STEM fields since a young age, but biology was my favourite. During my BSc and MSc studies, I visited different labs involved in cancer genetics, and I had mentors whose research work and laboratory skills were inspiring. I am currently drawn to the Molecular Oncology field, so I would say investigating the oncogenic signalling of pancreatic cancer is fascinating and is basically what keeps me motivated.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

Working in experimental biomedical research envoles numerous challenges every day. But we have to insist, try every other possible way to conduct the experiments, read articels and outreach to the rest of the scientific communtiy for advice and feedback.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Not to care about fitting in or to be considered and outsider. It seemed hard at the time, but the moment I decided to go after my personal goals regardless what others thought, was when the game started.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

As a researcher, you never have a dull day. We explore so many different areas. Working collaboratively with our colleagues, bench work, animal experiments, results analysis, writing, presentations, teaching, scientific communication. It is admittedly not easy and we constantly face challenging problems but it is never boring!

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

There are so many things in the STEM subjects that still need to be discovered; and we see more and more women changing the world every day. So step out of your comfort zone, find your passion and start writing your own story. And if things and circumstances take the wrong way, do your best to change the game.

INSPIRATION

´Outliers are those who have been given opportunities and who have had the strength and presence to seize them´, Malcom Gladwell from the book Outliers.

 

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