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About the Blog
My name is Stefanie Valbon and if you ever talked to me you know that I find every excuse to speak about immunology. You might also have noticed that if you react with even a fainted amount of excitement I will continue talking for hours. The problem is that explaining science can sometimes be harder than expected, and it is our fault! Most scientists are not used to explain their research using accessible language, making each concept sound way more complicated than it should. Therefore, in the hope of teaching myself how to explain extremely cool and crucial immunology concepts, I have decided to create this blog. This platform will also be another excuse for me to continue "talking" science with you, as every excuse is valuable!
In each post, I will try to explain to you a new immunology concept. I will start broad, but my goal is to present cutting-edge research using easy and accessible language. I will talk about my current research project but also feature professors and students from different universities. I hope you will like to hear about all the awesome ways our body has put in place to help us fight infection and cancer. If you have any questions or comments, don't be shy and send me a message! I would love to talk more about science with you (one more excuse)!
I was born in Brasil and although I didn't know I wanted to be a researcher at an early age, I have always been extremely curious about the human body. After finishing high school, I moved to Canada and I have been delighted to call this place home ever since. My passion for scientific research flourished after performing my first research project in CEGEP (a pre‑university study for Quebec students). I was fascinated by the possibility of trying to answer all the questions that came into my mind, even the craziest ones.
Early in my studies, I became especially curious about the immune system and its complex mechanisms which together are able to provide us with the correct level of protection. This led me to pursue a Bachelors's, and subsequently, a Master's degree in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Martin Richer. This remarkable opportunity, taught me a lot about my favourite cell type (which, spoiler alert, is the T cell), about scientific research and all the critical thinking required to design the correct experiments, but most importantly, about how to love science as much as I do today. Last year, I started my PhD studies at the Université de Montréal under the supervision of Dr. Heather Melichar. In this chapter of my scientific career, I'm diving deeper into why our T cells sometimes become dysfunctional leading to the development of autoimmune diseases. I can't wait to share my future findings with you!
For me, the funniest thing I've learned during my ongoing journey to become a scientist is that a lot of people think that this career is only right for a specific portion of the population. And I have to tell you right now that this is not true. The next time you look at something (it can be in nature, but also in your kitchen) and you think about a question... there you go... you have just been upgraded to a scientist. Isn't that just crazy? What we do every day is to look, question, test, analyze the results (which... we are usually wrong) and repeat! Sometimes, when our thinking is just crazy enough, we end it up discovering something new, which will help someone else discover something new, and the circle goes on... and that is the beauty of being a scientist!
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my ImmunoThoughts!
FYI (From Your immunologist),