Mariana Campos

who will the next? VOTE :) I don't wanna go!

Favourite Thing: I would say that it is getting good results! After all this what I work for :) And I love when something new comes out of my experiments and I get to discuss with my colleagues and boss what it might mean (even thought, sometimes, none of us have a clue of what it means!)



I studied in state schools in Portugal (1992 – 2004) and then I went to University in Lisbon, Portugal from 2004 to 2008


I did my MsC in Lisbon and I am now doing my PhD

Work History:

I worked in IMM, a research institute in Lisbon during my Masters degree

Current Job:

I am a PhD student, just starting the 3rd (out of 4 years) (the pressure is starting to build up!)


Cancer Research UK

Me and my work

I would love to understand how do the organs of our body know what is the right size.

If you all look to your hands: the left and the right have the same size. But how? Don’t you think this is funny? When you were a baby both your hands grew independently, they were not inside a  mold, they were not close together. But, in the end, they both have the same size. Something must be telling them what is the right size.

I want to understand what is this “something”.

My Typical Day

The only typical thing is that every day I have to take care of my flies and usually collect lots of virgin females. The rest of the day varies a lot!

I work with fruit flies, the little ones that wonder around when the fruit is ripe.  So usually part of my day is taking care of them, checking that they are healthy, checking if they need new food. Some of the days I also go to the microscope, when I need to do experiments that involve such small things that I can’t see with the naked eye.

In a good day those experiments give me new results. I talk about what I discovered with my boss and my colleagues and we discuss and think what those discoveries mean, if they help me get closer to the answer to my question (understanding the “something” that controls the size of the organs).

Other days the experiments don’t work. And I have to try again. Try to change little things and repeat. Till it works.

And I also read a lot. Because I like to know new things and also because it helps me to get more ideas and better ways of doing my experiments.


What I'd do with the money

I would use it to share my passion about developmental biology

I am passionate about developmental biology! What does this mean? It means knowing how a embryo forms and gives rise to you and me.

I would love to join this passion with my passion for science communication 🙂 So I’d like to go to schools and talk about it, show them for instance how a chicken embryo looks like, a mouse embryo 🙂

I’ve been talking with PARSUK, a Portuguese association, and I might join them in a effort to show Portuguese children in the UK how fun science can be 🙂







My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

dance, photography, smiles

Who is your favourite singer or band?

so difficult!! I love indie music! I love Bon Iver. Probably you’ve never heard of but, as my boyfriend says: I like to listen to music by men with very high pitch voices! (I don’t think is true!)

What is the most fun thing you've done?

it will have to be dance related! Probably being in a stage with my friends, the lights pointing at as, the room full of people and just dancing and dancing! :)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I have the same wish I have always had: be happy (sounds cheesy I know!). That would probably would involve having a baby.

What did you want to be after you left school?

a geneticist!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Tell us a joke.

Other stuff

Work photos:


This are my colleagues. Every Friday we go to the pub. Even the boss joins.


We also organize many events outside the lab: dancing, barbecue, coffee, cinema, you name it 🙂


my desk: where I do all the reading, writing and, for now, answer all your questions 🙂 I try to keep it tidy but it’s so hard!


and my bench, where science happens!


sometimes I think I am crazy!! This is what I saw a couple of weeks ago when I looked in the microscope. Is it me or it looks like a dinosaur?!


and this is me! Obsessed with flies!!!! 🙂 even dressed up as one 😉