Gokilavani Thangavel

PhD Student

  1. What fascinates you most about plant science?

I am a proud farmer’s daughter. Growing up in lavish green rural areas of India, it is difficult not to fall in love with plants. My love and curiosity for plants were intrinsically seeded in me as a child. Crop loss due to plant diseases and pathogens is not an easy deal for a farmer and my fascination towards plant science started when I dreamed about finding a way to help my family in preventing crop losses.

  1. Tell us briefly what scientific questions you are pursuing at MPIPZ (aiming for a lay audience)

Despite the fact that all human beings are 99.9% identical, what makes any two individual different and unique is, meiosis. My main research focus is understanding the evolution of meiosis with respect to organisms with non-canonical centromere organization like some carnivorous plants.

  1. Who has inspired you greatly in your career so far?

As a masters’ student, I have visited the lab of Dr. Ravi Maruthachalam, IISER, India. His talk about haploid induction and its immense potential in crop science have greatly influenced me in pursuing a Ph.D. 

  1. What did you find most challenging in your career so far?

The difficulty to leave homeland and establish a career in a foreign country is the most difficult part until now. I have to say the science part has been the easiest.

  1. How do you see your future in science and why?

Irrespective of where and what position I will be in the future, one thing I am confident is I will always be a scientist and I feel that’s the most important part. I wish my love and curiosity keeps growing just like plants.

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