Antonella Panebianco

Postdoctoral Researcher, National Scientific and Technical
Research Council (CONICET)

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Never stop wondering about the world around you, no matter how old you are or how many things you know.

What do you do?

I am an ecophysiologist and I am interested in studying the modulation of physiological and behavioural aspects in wildlife, in the context of environmental change.
For my PhD, I worked with guanacos, the largest South-American camelid, studying the factors that influence aggression during the reproductive season and its relationship with reproduction.
I am also very interested in applying new technology to wildlife studies, so currently I am assessing the behavioural and physiological impacts of using drones to study wildlife. That includes using tiny and minimally invasive implants that will allow us to measure physiological variables like heart rate or temperature, and behavioural responses, like warning and flight reactions, when a drone approaches. Ultimately, we will use all the results obtained to develop good practice protocols for the use of drones in wildlife studies and, at the same time, minimize the negative impacts they may cause on the individuals.
Generally, my job involves a lot of fieldwork, which means being outside a lot and enjoy nature, and also some time in the lab analysing samples.

Why did you choose this field?

I knew I wanted to be a biologist when I was only a child. We went to Patagonia for a family trip and one of the places we visited was the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world. Being so close to the animals, watching them carefully and discovering their secrets was a wonderful feeling. This was one of my first experiences in nature and surrounded by wildlife and it was definitely a life-changing moment. I didn't know much about what a biologist did but I just knew I wanted that as a lifestyle.
My parents encouraged me and supported me every step of the way and I'll always be grateful for that.

At first, I wanted to be a marine biologist. It wasn't until I started college and took the initial courses of my degree that I realized I was more interested in how animals function and the way the environment can modify that.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I think I would tell younger me "hey! there's a job where you get to work with other people collaboratively to learn new things all the time, explore nature in many wonderful ways and never stop asking questions. You should pursue that!"
I am glad that my parents supported 'younger me' to become a biologist.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love asking questions and try to find an answer to each of them. I love that exploring nature and trying to understand how it works is part of my job.
Working in STEM means that every day is a new challenge and I love that.
And another thing I like most is teamwork. Challenges are overcome and contributions to scientific knowledge are always better in a team.

Best advice for next generation?

Never stop wondering about the world around you, no matter how old you are or how many things you know.
Work hard and never let anyone tell you, you can't do it.
Science advances best when you work as a team.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

I have two:
If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research" - Einstein
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” - Amelia Earhart

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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