Maria Giovanna Caruso
Hi, I'm Maria. I'm from a sunny island in Italy called Sicily, where the winter looks like the Irish summer ☀️. I like cooking🍕, especially for my friends. I studied Biology at University and I'm doing my PhD in Neuroscience 🧠 at University College of Cork.
I don’t know what you expect a young scientist to be like, but I can tell you I’m a common girl in her mid-20s with a big curiosity and a bit of courage. I like swimming but I hate running, I love the arts and that’s why Paris is one of my favorite cities to visit. I love long walks, especially in nature and Ireland gave me the opportunity to enjoy it a lot. I can’t wait to start my weekends, always planning something different to do with my friends. I ended up in my career as a PhD student in neuroscience just following step by step my passion and curiosity, and most importantly I never gave up. I studied Biology as an undergraduate and I felt so lucky to be able to understand more about my body and how my brain lets me feel emotions as diverse as anger or happiness. So, I discovered more about the brain and I was fascinated about Neuroscience. For this reason, I chose to study Cellular and Molecular Biology & Neuroscience during my Master Degree, and here I am, ready to begin my career as a neuroscientist.
Please ask me if you have any curiosity 🙂
I study the brain and the molecular mechanisms driving our behaviours. My main interest is neurogenesis (this is a difficult term that refers to the birth of new cells of the brain, called neurons). My work is important because it helps in the understanding of how the brain works and how lifestyle factors (such as exercise🏃♀️ or stress😫) can have a big impact on cognitive functions. I hope my research can contribute to increase the mental wellbeing of our society.
P.S.: if you want to see how a newly born neuron looks like, go and check the uploaded images 🔬 (they are the red cells)
My Typical Day
I get up, take my coffee and look for the positive energies I'll need to do my best in working on my experiments - the lunch break can help in restoring them. I go home at 6/7pm and enjoy my free time.
The first coffee of my day is quite important to me and I like taking it while spending some time chatting with my friends or looking at the most recent and funny posts on Instagram, and then I start my day.
At 9 I walk to work, I switch on my laptop and start checking my emails; at this point I need to be ready to receive good and/or bad news – and hope to find quickly a solution to the bad ones.
Then, the experiments can start. My days are always different from each other and I need to do a variety of tasks, such as preparing solutions, working with tissues and/or animals. During the working hours I’m always walking around the different rooms of the lab, sometimes I even have to run because the timer is going to ring – that’s why I don’t need to go to the gym. My lunch break can be “various” too: I always have lunch at a different hour and there are always new visiting students or new colleagues to share my break with. I usually go home at 6pm or 7pm and I enjoy my free time listening to music or meeting friends.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would reinvest them on scientific divulgation
Master Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology
I worked in the International Office at University, but this is my first job related to science!!
Phd student in Neuroscience
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly Italian Neuroscientist
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No - I learned to be in trouble later
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To be braver and taller, and to go to Mexico for a holiday