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Quantum Biologist Clarice Aiello on Nano Life

Astronaut's Daughter
Clarice Aiello's research is as cutting edge as it gets – but it's her work on what it means to be a woman leader that might change our society forever.
Show transcript
00:00
Hi, everyone.
00:01
I'm Vanessa Hernandez and welcome to this episode of astronauts
00:04
daughter.
00:05
Today we're talking to Claris Alo.
00:07
She is a quantum biologist.
00:09
I have no idea what quantum biology is, but Claris did a really
00:13
great job of explaining it to me and I still have questions
00:16
but I learned a lot and I hope you do too.
00:37
Hi, Clarice.
00:38
Thank you so much for being here.
00:39
I'm so excited.
00:40
I will admit, I will be brutally honest.
00:43
I know nothing about quantum biology like Zip Nada.
00:48
So I'm really excited that you're here because I'm hoping
00:51
to walk away learning something new.
00:53
So I would love to take this time for you to just introduce yourself
00:57
Give everyone like a quick overview about who you are and what
00:59
you do.
01:00
Awesome.
01:00
I'm super excited to be here to, to teach all of you a little
01:03
bit about quantum value.
01:05
So um I'm a faculty in electrical engineering at UCL A here
01:10
in Los Angeles.
01:11
I'm from Brazil originally.
01:12
So that's the, the accent that you're hearing.
01:14
I grew up uh in the largest city of Latin America in Sao Paulo
01:19
And I've sort of traveled the world for, for my studies.
01:22
And, uh, since uh 2019, I have my research group at UCL A and
01:29
I teach there to actually, I'm in the business of building
01:34
instruments and we can talk more about that.
01:37
And I started in November of 2019, which is not a good time to
01:40
start if you're in the business of building instruments because
01:42
three months later, we were all sent back home.
01:45
So we, we're sort of delayed with things.
01:46
But OK, so that was a big challenge for you to kind of get back
01:50
into the your group of things with work.
01:52
It was and it still continues to be right?
01:55
And I can see it from, from my team in my lab, from my students
02:00
I it breaks my heart to see that some students are spending
02:05
one or more years of their university studies like at home
02:08
and stuff.
02:09
So hopefully we'll be over that very soon.
02:11
Yeah.
02:11
Well, that's that we'll get all into that later on in the podcast
02:15
digging deeper into what you're doing professionally at
02:18
UCL A.
02:19
Um But I'm really excited to just get to know you more.
02:22
So getting into what quantum biology actually is, can you
02:26
explain on a very basic level for those like myself who may
02:30
not even know what quantum means quantum is one of the most
02:35
awesome things in the universe.
02:36
So um when you get to things that are very small and very well
02:42
uh shielded from their environment.
02:45
It's really crazy because the laws like uh Newton's laws that
02:48
we learn in high school, they start to break down.
02:52
So actually, um very, very tiny things, for example, electrons
02:58
atoms, they behave in very weird ways.
03:02
Let me give you an example of, of that.
03:05
Uh if an electron uh were a big ball that you were to be throwing
03:12
it towards the wall, sometimes, even if the electron does
03:16
not have enough energy to go over the wall to the other side
03:19
the electron can go through the wall with a certain probability
03:23
And if it does it gets to the other side like skated perfect
03:28
with the same energy.
03:30
So this uh phenomenon which is crazy is actually what underlies
03:35
a lot of modern electronics, for example.
03:38
So we already live in a quantum world like lasers need quantum
03:43
mechanics to function um magnetic resonance imaging that
03:50
that's the therapeutic stuff, right?
03:52
Uh it also like needs quantum mechanics to function.
03:56
So we really live in a quantum world, right?
03:59
And quantum has for many, many decades been harnessed for
04:03
technological applications.
04:05
Wow.
04:05
So there are things that we don't even really think about that
04:09
involve quantum mechanics, but you do live in a quantum world
04:13
That's so amazing because I wouldn't think, oh my electronics
04:16
definitely relates to this field at all.
04:19
I wouldn't have made that connection.
04:21
So that's really neat.
04:22
So when you talk about going back to Newton's first laws, would
04:26
you say that's like the beginning of say someone who is studying
04:30
you know, an elementary school that is their first exposure
04:33
to maybe learning about what quantum biology is.
04:37
Before we start talking about quantum biology, I think that
04:41
quantum uh is going to to start becoming, say what programming
04:46
was like 20 years ago when I went to high school, there weren't
04:49
like programming classes and stuff and now people have programming
04:53
classes even in high school in elementary school like right
04:56
to know how to program computers and all.
04:58
And I think that there's the same movement with quantum that
05:01
people are going to start learning about quantum mechanics
05:04
just after they learn about laws at school.
05:08
Yeah, that's it's so cool to see the evolution of what people
05:13
are are teaching in school because back then you didn't have
05:17
that.
05:18
And now students are able to take those classes and get learn
05:22
more than you were able to back then or what was available to
05:26
you.
05:27
And that's really neat even when I was in graduate school to
05:29
get my my doctorate, um one couldn't get a job as a quantum scientist
05:36
or a quantum engineer if not in academia.
05:38
And now there's like this booming quantum industry that that
05:43
is hiring more and more people.
05:45
So this is uh a very exciting time to to be studying quantum
05:49
right quantum in general and quantum biology in particular
05:52
in this industry.
05:53
What about it is changing our world right now, we're pushing
05:59
the limits on so many ways.
06:02
For example, as um electronic components start getting smaller
06:07
and smaller and smaller, there will be uh the need of taking
06:12
into consideration quantum laws that start kicking in when
06:15
things are very, very small, right?
06:17
So this will need a completely different design rules and
06:21
things like this for the electronics industry.
06:23
Does that relate to how each year we have like a new Apple iphone
06:30
Is that what they're doing is that they're making it more and
06:33
more advanced?
06:34
Does it relate to this at all?
06:36
Um I think it will in the very near future, but something related
06:41
to that is the fact that um for example, your iphone and your
06:46
computer, uh apart from those tiny little components, they
06:52
still function mostly according to the loss of uh of Newton's
06:56
loss actually, which is also called classical mechanics
07:00
But some people are starting to develop uh computers and gadgets
07:04
that actually work mainly because of quantum mechanical
07:08
laws.
07:09
This is the field that people are calling quantum computing
07:12
It's computing with fundamentally different rules.
07:16
And while we're still maybe half a century away from having
07:19
quantum laptops, I think that we need to start doing this research
07:25
now to to invest in that, that's so awesome.
07:29
Does that mean smaller computers not necessarily smaller
07:34
and not only faster?
07:36
Um people can show mathematically that when quantum computers
07:41
become a reality quantum computers can solve problems that
07:45
would take like thousands of years for regular computers
07:48
to solve even the best computers that exist in the world.
07:51
When you say solve problems, what do you, what kind of problems
07:55
are you?
07:55
Meaning?
07:56
For example, bank encryption?
07:58
Uh and in the end, it's, it's, it gets really dangerous too
08:03
right?
08:03
Because for example, um in very simplified terms, uh the way
08:07
that banks secure transactions is that the people involved
08:11
in the transaction have two very big numbers, one has a number
08:16
the other one has, has the number and the the transaction
08:19
is somehow encoded in a number that is in the multiplication
08:22
of those two huge numbers.
08:24
So classical computers have a very hard time uh trying to,
08:30
to figure out those two numbers that multiply together give
08:33
this huge huge number.
08:34
Actually, it's a very, very hard problem for for classical
08:38
computers to do.
08:40
And that's like one of the things that sparked a curiosity
08:43
in, in developing experimentally quantum computing because
08:47
theoretically people could prove that quantum computers
08:51
can actually break that, which makes us think about all, all
08:55
sorts of things, right?
08:56
So it goes even to like geopolitical terms.
09:00
So what happens if a country has a quantum computer and others
09:04
don't, what sort of power can that country have respect to
09:08
other countries?
09:09
Right?
09:09
If, if that country can go and break, break bank encryption
09:13
in other, in other countries and so forth.
09:15
Wow, that's really crazy to think about what are you really
09:20
trying to answer with quantum biology and why more specifically
09:25
is it important to you?
09:26
So first of all, we want to establish or refute for sure that
09:33
quantum effects in biology uh exist.
09:36
So um the evidence for that exists at two very distinct uh length
09:42
scales.
09:43
So as I mentioned, like for proteins in solution, there's
09:46
no doubt that some proteins are sustaining those quantum
09:52
dependent chemical reactions that they are acting as a bona
09:56
fide natural quantum sensors.
09:58
However, the next step in the landscapes are for experiments
10:03
with birds with flies.
10:05
So it those are very, very hard experiments.
10:08
What makes these experiments so hard?
10:11
Is it dealing with the amount of birds that are in the experiment
10:14
or just the the bird experiment is probably very hard because
10:17
they need to, to catch birds during migration season.
10:20
I I have no experience but I, but I that is really funny, right
10:24
I mean, I I don't know how they maintain those birds or catch
10:27
those birds.
10:28
Uh another cool experiments like flies.
10:31
So I don't know how people do this.
10:32
This is harder than quantum mechanics but flies do not migrate
10:37
but they can be taught, they can be trained to find food in the
10:43
presence of a magnetic field.
10:45
I have no idea how they do this.
10:46
It sounds really cool, right?
10:48
And then researchers trained them to do that and then uh they
10:52
they started finding the food when there was a magnetic field
10:55
around.
10:56
And then they genetically removed the protein from the fly
11:00
that uh is positively responsible for this magnetic field
11:04
sensitivity.
11:05
And then the flies were no longer able to find the food in the
11:09
presence of a magnetic field interesting.
11:12
And then uh in a further experiment, the researchers put back
11:16
the same uh genetically encoded the same protein back.
11:19
But the human version of this protein and the flies were back
11:23
to being able to find food in the presence of a magnetic field
11:26
So birds and flies, but what about humans?
11:29
Do we experience any quantum effects?
11:32
It's unclear, right.
11:35
Uh what I can tell you is that we have the hardware to do.
11:38
So if the hardware, if for example, that protein is hooked
11:44
up to a certain signaling path, I don't know, nobody knows
11:48
right.
11:49
But that's one of the things that we're interested into.
11:54
And uh what we are starting to do is like we really want to start
12:03
from the ground up because like we go from test tubes to, to
12:07
to humans or to, to birds.
12:09
That's very hard to say.
12:10
Well, the bird is doing that because there's a quantum process
12:13
occurring into it.
12:13
So what we want to do is start doing experiments say under a
12:18
microscope with a single cell and and so forth.
12:21
So we're building those experiments to, to look at quantum
12:26
phenomena under a microscope that's so awesome.
12:28
So you mentioned you're from Brazil.
12:30
I'd love to hear what your childhood was like growing up in
12:33
Brazil.
12:33
I'm an only child from my mother's side and only grandchild
12:37
So II I had a very quiet childhood and I was not the science geek
12:42
at all.
12:43
Uh I was a reader.
12:44
I used to read a lot and, and actually, so my, both my parents
12:49
are medical doctors.
12:51
So my mom at some point tried to hook me into the biological
12:55
sciences.
12:56
Don't they always do that?
12:57
I have a dream for you and they're like, go into this field,
13:01
please.
13:02
I know.
13:02
So how was it for you growing up with, with an astronaut at home
13:07
00 my gosh.
13:07
Yeah, it was kind of the same experience my dad got into engineering
13:12
That was his field of study, but ultimately became an astronaut
13:15
And as a kid, you feel that pressure to do what your parents
13:20
did because what they're doing is so great and they're great
13:23
role models.
13:24
So, at a very young age for me also, he wanted me to go into engineering
13:29
and I just pivoted.
13:31
I didn't want to do what he wanted to do.
13:34
And I chose my own path.
13:35
And ultimately, he never deterred me.
13:37
He was, he wanted me to find my own path.
13:40
So ultimately, he was very supportive.
13:42
But in the beginning stages, you could just tell he was like
13:45
be an astronaut or not an astronaut but do engineering like
13:48
I did.
13:49
So you, you had the same experience and what I did, I did.
13:53
And I, I remember my mom giving me this biological experiment
13:59
kit that is, it's now family law.
14:01
It's like the banana kit where the main experience experiment
14:07
was like to put a banana inside a glass vial, put a gaze on top
14:12
and see like flies coming out and then you had to answer the
14:16
questions.
14:17
Were the flies inside the banana or where did the fly eggs come
14:21
from and, and stuff?
14:22
And that was just so boring.
14:25
And so you're like, no, I'm gonna do my own thing.
14:29
I'm going to be reading the whole lot.
14:31
But going back to your childhood with your family, did your
14:35
parents ultimately accept that you wanted to do something
14:38
differently?
14:40
Well, they had more heartbroken.
14:43
I'm not sure that, that, that, I don't know.
14:46
But, um, when I was applying for universities, I applied for
14:50
everything but the Biosciences.
14:52
So, um, I applied for a journalism school and I applied for
14:57
an engineering school and then I didn't get into the journalism
15:00
school.
15:00
So I, I ended up in engineering.
15:03
Well, ok, so you kind of just like fell into it because that's
15:06
what your, the path led you to.
15:09
Would you say that was your moment where you knew?
15:13
Ok.
15:13
This is becoming a reality.
15:15
Did you have that aha moment or was it kind of just like, ok,
15:18
this is where I'm ending up.
15:20
This is the field that I'm gonna study.
15:21
I mean.
15:23
Mhm.
15:24
I've never had an aha moment until, like, a couple of years
15:27
ago actually.
15:28
Oh, wow.
15:28
For me, it was just like, well, let's see where this leads.
15:31
Honestly.
15:32
That's actually more, that's amazing because I feel like
15:36
a lot of people expect to have that aha moment at a very young
15:39
age.
15:40
And it's not the case because I think I relate to that too because
15:44
although I didn't go into engineering, like most of my family
15:48
did, I, I applied to college.
15:51
I got a business degree and I kind of did the same where I was
15:54
like, oh, I'll just figure it out along the way.
15:56
Maybe I'll have my aha moment later on and I kind of did at like
15:59
the age of 22 23.
16:02
And I think that's a little bit, I mean, it's still, it's very
16:05
young but it's still on the later side of figuring out what
16:09
you wanted to do.
16:10
I think that's super relatable that you kind of figured it
16:13
out later on even just like a couple of years ago and when I don't
16:19
know about you, but when I was growing up, nobody told me that
16:22
that it could take time for me to find my path.
16:24
Right.
16:24
Right.
16:25
Everyone expects you to have it figured out at the age of 16
16:29
17, 18.
16:30
And that's so unrealistic and then you start to study and you
16:36
expose yourself to different subjects.
16:38
So your, your interests and passions may change along the
16:42
way.
16:42
So I think that's very interesting that we set those expectations
16:46
at a very young age.
16:48
We should definitely change that and allow for more grace
16:52
and allow people to figure it out along the way for sure.
16:56
And something that I want to mention that I think is close to
16:58
your interests too is, is, um when I was in, in engineering
17:02
school, I was uh only one of, of a few women, right?
17:08
And it was very hard to, to sometimes not be part of the in group
17:14
I, I was, that's very interesting as one of the few women and
17:18
feeling like an outsider.
17:20
How did you cope with that?
17:21
Did you ever have a moment where you were like, ok, I, I don't
17:25
really belong here.
17:26
Maybe I shouldn't be doing this all the time.
17:29
And to be very honest, I still have that to those moments.
17:33
Right?
17:33
And I mean, I'm not surprised because there are still very
17:36
few women in the stem field.
17:39
Um, can you talk a little bit more about that, of feeling it
17:42
back then?
17:43
But also feeling it right now.
17:44
Well, it's sort of crazy and I think it gets better when you
17:48
start finding community with your own friends or, or whatever
17:52
right?
17:53
Or with people who have the similar values to, to those that
17:56
you have but it's very hard.
17:59
I don't think there's a solution and, and, and with this, with
18:04
this comes a little bit of self doubt too, like imposter syndrome
18:07
and stuff.
18:08
Yeah.
18:09
I think that's a really good piece of advice.
18:11
So, is finding community wherever you can and making sure
18:14
you are that community for other people as well.
18:17
I think leaning on other people for support, being that support
18:21
system for other people is the best way to set yourself up for
18:24
success.
18:25
And sometimes I've, I've told myself, oh, I'm strong, I don't
18:29
need community.
18:30
I can do it alone.
18:31
And in the end I'm like, no as a person faster.
18:35
Do you, how do you instill this in your students as well?
18:38
You talked about, you know, doing Zoom calls with, you know
18:41
right now it's the time of the pandemic.
18:42
So Zoom calls make sense.
18:44
Um But with your students, what are some ways that you instill
18:47
this and them?
18:48
Here's one thing.
18:50
It's, it's not directly how I, I instill that in them, but it
18:56
has to do with how I lead or I try to lead, I think that for many
19:03
women in, in a position of, of leadership, who, who lead their
19:06
own teams, their own groups, whatever.
19:10
Sometimes we, or they want to emulate uh usual standard male
19:17
leadership.
19:18
And sometimes, you know, it's like survivor bias, some women
19:25
who get to the top, they're like, well, if I made it, you can
19:28
make it or, or like if you're not making it, it's your problem
19:32
And II, I think that there's room for women in positions of
19:36
leadership to start leading in a much more gentle way with
19:40
other values.
19:41
I, I think that's one of the most important things that I, that
19:44
I'm trying to do to lead on my own terms to lead differently
19:48
Right.
19:49
That's amazing.
19:50
And I think it goes back to imposter syndrome is we get these
19:54
women who are starting to have their own leadership positions
19:58
now they're there and they think, ok, how, how do I lead?
20:01
Well, this is all that I know because I've been previously
20:04
led by just men.
20:06
These are the way that this is the way.
20:08
So it's the way for me as well, but it doesn't necessarily work
20:12
like you said, it may come across as, you know, ingenuine or
20:17
toxic.
20:18
Speaking of that though, you specifically said, I think on
20:22
Twitter, I read that you try to lead with generosity with communication
20:28
and authenticity and you choose to work with people who have
20:33
those qualities over the knowledge that they have.
20:37
Why is that?
20:39
Can you explain that a little bit to me?
20:40
Because I think it's so fascinating because many people would
20:44
choose knowledge if you're more knowledgeable than the next
20:47
person, I'm gonna choose you because you're quote unquote
20:50
the most qualified.
20:51
But you, the knowledge is the easiest thing for them to, to
20:55
to acquire right.
20:57
And knowledge is a process and, uh, it's really crazy.
21:02
I'm, I'm really, that's, that's really one of the, the last
21:08
things I, I look at when I'm interacting with potential teammates
21:12
and stuff, you know, because I want to be part of a group of people
21:19
that work well, that can help each other.
21:21
And like, if they can communicate well, if they can, you know
21:25
be themselves, despite of what other people think knowledge
21:29
will come, think good things will have to, to come out of it
21:34
Right?
21:34
I, that's amazing.
21:36
And I think it is applicable to any field, not just the field
21:40
that you're in.
21:41
I hear it all the time where especially, I don't know if you
21:45
you're on linkedin and you see people posting about just
21:48
their experiences in, in their job environment is that things
21:53
are so teachable and you should really connect with people
21:57
and trust that they're going to learn the job and learn the
22:00
work, but it's who they are at the core that really matters
22:04
You don't want to work with someone who isn't a team player
22:07
who, who may not want to contribute to the overall goals, who
22:12
are, who are very individualistic and you wanna choose someone
22:16
who's right for you and right for your, for your team and your
22:19
overall goal.
22:20
Do you have anyone in, like in your mind that really taught
22:25
you this mindset or did you take all of your experiences and
22:31
kind of come up with, OK, this is how I want to lead my team or
22:35
like this is how I don't want to lead my team.
22:39
That is a good, that's a good point.
22:42
Yes, I think we all experience that having it, whatever, it
22:46
may be a bad team member, a bad manager and learn.
22:49
OK.
22:50
I don't like how I'm being treated here that I rather be treated
22:55
this way.
22:56
I would thrive in this type of environment.
22:59
So this is how I'm gonna do things differently moving forward
23:02
And I think that people from minor backgrounds are usually
23:07
you know, they're not confident to, to, to stand up and say
23:10
they, they, they start thinking, oh, maybe there's a problem
23:12
with me or instead of, of being that's a common secure enough
23:17
to, right to, right?
23:19
It's, it's finding that con that confidence within yourself
23:22
despite your background coming forward and saying, OK,
23:25
I, I love these things, these things are not OK.
23:30
How can I change my environment to make it better for me?
23:33
How did you find it?
23:35
Right?
23:36
Because we deserve it.
23:37
How did you find that voice though?
23:38
Because I'm, I'm, I'll be honest, I'm still very early on in
23:42
my career and I still struggle with that, trying to find my
23:45
voice and trying to advocate for myself.
23:47
How did you find yours?
23:49
I'm really not sure I did.
23:51
I'm still trying to find mine and there, there are times where
23:54
II, I don't have a voice and then I, I beat myself up afterwards
23:58
Like I should have done this.
23:59
I should.
24:00
It's still a learning experience.
24:02
We're still learning because it's, it's not set in stone that
24:05
OK, once you get to a certain age it's all fixed.
24:08
No, no, no, no, we're still learning.
24:10
That's a great way to say it because it's the reality diving
24:15
into diversity.
24:17
I mean, I think we all know there's not enough in academia but
24:21
do you see things changing in the future?
24:24
What does diversity look like in your community right now
24:29
And what are your hopes for it moving forward?
24:33
Yeah.
24:33
The the there's definitely not enough diversity in academia
24:38
in the science fields.
24:41
It's sort of sad and I, but I think there's, there's hope, right
24:46
So maybe we really need to, to let the more rigid, older people
24:54
die one at a time so that we can change things, right?
24:58
I see that the the younger people from all backgrounds, they
25:02
seem to be more flexible and more mindful of diversity issues
25:09
right?
25:10
And I, I read somewhere that you also mentioned that diversity
25:13
itself though is not enough that we need to do more than just
25:19
be more open and accepting and include more numbers of everyone
25:24
from every background, et cetera.
25:28
Can you explain that a little bit more of what you mean by that
25:31
So, so I think we need to, to make sure that those people succeed
25:34
It's not only about like, well, now we, we have attained our
25:40
quota of like people from, from this background, gender,
25:44
whatever.
25:44
It's like giving the resources for those people to actually
25:48
feel that they, they belong.
25:49
Right.
25:50
Right.
25:50
I think that would definitely help with the, the things that
25:55
we just talked about of, you know, ok, now we have minorities
25:59
and very, very diverse people in these different fields.
26:03
How then can we empower them?
26:06
What resources can we give them to succeed at a larger scale
26:10
And not just OK, they're here.
26:13
I did my job, I did my part.
26:15
It's like, no, what are you gonna do further?
26:17
So I think that's a really great point and a really great thing
26:20
that you and, and really talk about and, and men to people because
26:25
if we're not talking about it, change isn't gonna happen.
26:27
And, and that's what I wanted to, to, to, to ask you like, and
26:31
I think that's related to why you wanted to do this podcast
26:34
Right.
26:35
Right.
26:35
Yeah, I think, you know, we, we talked a little bit beforehand
26:39
about, you know, the whole goal of this podcast and, you know
26:43
our individual dreams and the whole reason I created this
26:46
podcast, astronauts daughter is to have a platform where
26:50
I can bring women in stem other Latinas who are succeeding
26:55
in their own fields, whatever field that may be and kind of
26:59
sharing their path, their individual path and just share
27:03
for other people to know that there are so many different ways
27:06
that you could go into these industries.
27:09
It's not a one size fit all.
27:11
But we have proof there are so many women out here who are succeeding
27:16
and that are paving the way and really trail blazing in these
27:19
industries.
27:20
And I just want to share that I want, I want people at home, I
27:23
want young women to understand that it's possible and give
27:29
them tools and advice and a role model to look up to, to, to make
27:35
it happen.
27:36
So I again, wanna thank you for being on the podcast because
27:39
you are one of those people that we thought of like, oh my gosh
27:42
this person is doing such amazing things.
27:44
Not only are you so intelligent and you are such an expert in
27:48
your field, you're advocating for this as well.
27:52
And so I wanted to, I wanted to, to, to say something about this
27:56
Oh, you're so intelligent thing.
27:57
Everyone has different types of intelligence.
27:59
We're all trained differently, right?
28:02
So, and, and that's another thing that has to do with gender
28:05
right?
28:06
Like who gets to be called a genius.
28:08
It's usually the lone dude who has like disheveled hair and
28:14
stuff and, and I think that we're all unique and we're all intelligent
28:21
in our own ways.
28:22
We're all like, we all decide where we're best at.
28:26
I think it says a lot about people in, you know, scientists
28:30
astronauts who say, you know what, I'm not the smartest person
28:34
in the room.
28:34
I recognize that I'm not a genius, I'm not, you know, uh And
28:41
that's amazing because those are the people who are one, making
28:46
a difference and making it feel for other people that anyone
28:50
anyone can do it, anyone can do it.
28:53
You just need the tools and the resources and this, the education
28:58
to go along with it.
28:59
And that's, that's amazing because I had my dad on the podcast
29:03
and he said the exact same thing.
29:05
He said, I'm no genius.
29:08
I worked really hard.
29:10
And here I, you know, and it just takes hard work and that determination
29:14
and that tenacity to, to make it happen.
29:17
So I'm glad that you said that because I, I hear it more and more
29:21
as I talk to people in these fields.
29:23
And it's so interesting.
29:25
And I also think that it's important, at least for me to mention
29:28
that many things that had, has have happened to me in life.
29:33
They were just lucky things I happened to be in the right place
29:36
at the right time, right?
29:38
So in the end, it's, it's not a very linear path at all.
29:44
And, and sometimes II, I plainly got lucky moving into the
29:50
future and seeing what's next for the world of science.
29:54
Can you share any ways we can make science more accessible
29:58
for underprivileged communities or anyone who wants to become
30:04
a part of this community.
30:05
It's a very hard question.
30:07
Right.
30:07
And, and maybe all of us have some role to, to, to play, like
30:13
universities have their role to play by uh paying attention
30:18
to people from diverse backgrounds and their admissions
30:22
Right.
30:23
Faculty uh have their role to play, to value and honor the backgrounds
30:29
of, of their students so that they can feel more welcome uh
30:34
into the world of, of science.
30:36
I, I actually don't know what I think it's a very, I, I it's a
30:41
hard thing to answer just one person of, ok, how do we solve
30:44
this?
30:45
Because there's really no one answer.
30:47
Right.
30:47
But I think each person in their respective roles can play
30:51
a part in it.
30:52
You're here with the podcast, right?
30:54
And you want exactly to, to, to bring science to, to, to, to
30:58
more people.
30:59
Uh I'm here on the other side to share your story to also open
31:04
that and provide more accessibility and share what you've
31:07
done and how you got there.
31:09
And, and, and I think it's important again for people to see
31:12
that anyone can choose their path.
31:15
And there's nothing special about my, my path.
31:18
It's a path with all sorts of obstacles to just like anyone's
31:22
If I could give some, some advice, I would like, tell the people
31:28
to, to, I don't know, keep curious, like learning, not only
31:32
about science but about anything in life is a lifelong process
31:35
right?
31:36
And, and try to see connections among among disciplines,
31:41
among different branches of your daily life.
31:44
Yeah, that's really great advice moving into the future of
31:48
your respective field.
31:49
What do you think is the next big thing for quantum biology
31:53
And what is the next big discovery or learning that we're gonna
31:57
see?
31:57
So I think that in quantum biology, in particular, there is
32:01
a lot of room for uh understanding how to ah control uh quantum
32:10
things happening inside biology.
32:13
For example, for uh therapeutic applications, right, it's
32:17
not going to happen in five years in 10 years.
32:20
But maybe in 50 years, if we start the research, now, we can
32:24
know exact ways how we can tune uh those things that are happening
32:30
in biology so that we can drive physiological outcomes.
32:34
Can you explain a little bit more on the therapeutic applications
32:38
What that means?
32:39
Sure.
32:40
Uh for example, there are uh as I think I mentioned some chemical
32:43
reactions that depend on some quantum happening inside them
32:47
right?
32:48
And there are ways to control the the the the quantum aspect
32:52
of it.
32:53
So imagine trying to drive the outcomes of chemical reactions
32:58
by sort of driving those quantum knobs that we have access
33:03
to.
33:03
Now in the laboratory.
33:05
It seems that if you grow uh at least a frog embryos tadpoles
33:12
in a chamber that is super well shielded from magnetic fields
33:16
And remember we were talking about the fact that birds might
33:19
be sensing the magnetic field of theirs to migrate.
33:22
So the magnetic field of the earth is already tiny.
33:25
So, but people like actually, like hardcore physicists can
33:31
build uh uh chambers that have inside it, magnetic fields
33:36
that are much, much smaller by orders of magnitude than the
33:39
magnetic field of the earth.
33:40
So uh someone whom I know uh actually grew tadpoles for two
33:45
days inside those chambers.
33:48
And by the end of those two days, which was as long as he could
33:51
go without asking for a bio permit or something, 30% of those
33:56
poles were microscopically deformed, which if you think
33:59
about it, it's sort of crazy because, you know, you, you just
34:04
subtracted a magnetic field and a tiny one of that, that, that
34:07
right and thinking about that opens up like a big Pandora box
34:14
of like, you know, that can even go to, to space exploration
34:19
So what's the magnetic field in Mars?
34:21
Can we grow lettuce in Mars?
34:23
Can we reproduce in Mars?
34:25
I was gonna ask that I would be remiss not to ask you a little
34:28
bit about space and space exploration since the, the podcast
34:32
is called astronaut's daughter.
34:33
What do you have to say about things you know, in the future
34:37
with, with space?
34:38
So I, I think that's mostly this, the fact that there might
34:44
be parameters in space in particular magnetic fields because
34:48
I like magnetic fields that are not being taken into account
34:53
when people talk about space exploration, right?
34:56
Um In the same way that people study like the atmosphere in
35:01
Mars or, or what else?
35:03
I think there are other parameters that should be taken into
35:05
consideration as people start to, to consider colonizing
35:10
Mars or, or even astronauts on multigenerational flights
35:14
What sort of magnetic fields they sense?
35:16
How does that, how does microgravity plus a changing magnetic
35:21
field screw up or help your, your physiology more on you in
35:28
the future?
35:28
I'd love to understand and just hear more about what you see
35:32
for yourself in the future.
35:34
Do you ever see yourself staying in this field?
35:37
Do you see yourself moving to a different area?
35:40
I I really to to stay in this field.
35:42
And I think that uh what we can contribute is like new machines
35:47
to study those positive quantum phenomena in biology.
35:51
And that's I think a current bottleneck in the field.
35:54
There are not many people from like technological with the
35:57
technological quantum training working on this.
36:00
So I think I want to continue to develop machines to look at
36:04
quantum in biology.
36:05
And I also want to build community in this field.
36:10
This is an emerging field that sits in the middle of nowhere
36:16
not in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of of physics
36:19
Chemistry, biology, medicine, right.
36:22
So uh what I would like is to bring people together to talk about
36:28
quantum biology.
36:29
Some people are doing research that they, they don't call
36:31
themselves quantum biology biologist.
36:33
But, but, um, they're basically exploring the same things
36:37
that I'm exploring.
36:39
Um, the other thing that I, I would like to do is to start building
36:45
curriculum to train the next generation of quantum biologists
36:49
Like 20 years ago, many of the current departments that exists
36:54
in the university, they didn't exist, there was no bioinformatics
36:58
department or, uh, and like, what should we be doing now?
37:02
And training people in so that in 20 years, we will have like
37:06
a graduate program or department on quantum biology.
37:09
I think just what you said of just staying curious about the
37:13
world around you is what's really going to make you interested
37:16
whatever field you go into that.
37:18
That's all really great advice.
37:20
And I just want to thank you so much for coming on this podcast
37:24
I know I've learned so much.
37:26
You definitely had me scratching my brain at moments.
37:29
But I think what you said and just everything that you explained
37:33
really just opened up my mind about what quantum biology is
37:38
and it was really great just hearing from you how you got to
37:43
where you are today.
37:44
And although it wasn't a straight shot, you found your way
37:48
I had such a great time talking to you.
37:50
Yeah, it's the same here.
37:52
And uh thank you for bringing me here and for showing me a little
37:57
bit of, of, of your life or what it is to to, to make a podcast
38:01
because I think we're learning from each other.
38:03
Yes.
38:03
Yes, of course.
38:04
Thank you so much.
38:06
Thank you.