Meet the Scientist- Jenna Loiseau

Hi everyone and welcome to the first post in the new series: meet the scientist!

Since starting my PhD and this Blog I have met many inspiring scientists- and I want to share their amazing research, and journeys from student to fully fledged scientist with you!

In this series I hope I can show you the wide range of things scientists study (particularly in the area of plant science), and also share some insight into the PhD world.

For the very first feature we say hello to Jenna Loiseau, a former PhD student at The Sainsbury Laboratory, and a passionate advocate of science communication.

Over to you Jenna!

Q: What was your PhD research on?

I was studying the cell biology aspect of plant-microbe interaction. I investigated how pathogens manipulate immune receptor internalisation to promote virulence.


Q:Why did you choose to do a PhD in plant science?

I was at Uni doing my Bachelor in Biology/Biochemistry and had a plant biology module (which I did not choose). I had a lecture on plant biotechnologies and a researcher explained the impact of her research on agriculture and agronomy. It was so inspiring. I asked if I could do a shadow experience with her and she agreed! I did my first internship in a laboratory at the national institute for agronomic research (INRA) and loved it. I was fascinated about plant defence mechanisms but mostly I wanted to understand how plants can defend themselves despite lacking specialised immune cells.

Q:You have now finished your PhD, what are you now doing?

I am looking for job in science communication and helping my family on the farm, but I am also currently working on exciting projects! I am starting a blog to inform people about farmers needs and their practices regarding sustainable agriculture.  I also run some fun activities (around science of course!) with children.


Q: If you could tell your 1st year self-one thing, what would it be?

Don’t doubt yourself. It is fine to ask for advice from more experienced scientists but trust your judgement.

Q:What is one thing you wish people knew about plant science?

I wish people knew plants are smart and are able to defend themselves against pathogens.


Q: Have you got any extra advice for current PhDs, and those thinking about venturing into the world of work?

There are a lot of ups and downs when you are working in science. If you feel sad or depressed, go talk to someone and seek help as soon as possible. It took me two years to go to occupational health and talk about my feelings towards my PhD life, it is comforting to see you are not alone in this situation.

A huge thank you to Jenna for being the first scientist interviewed for this series! You can find Jenna on twitter @loiseaujenna and very soon on her new blog

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