Resilient as Bacteria

Silvana Quiton (ESR1)

Hello everybody, my name is Silvana Quiton doing topic n°1 “Understanding biotransformation mechanisms of OMPs during anoxic biological wastewater treatment” and it is my turn to write a few lines here at the Nowelties Blog.

Let me start by saying that this is my first time writing a blog, but I am all in for engaging in science and online communication of researchers and other professionals in academia (thanks twitter for the hashtags #PhDchat #PhDlife) So here I go!

I believe we, Early Stage Researchers, have chosen to do a PhD for our passion of science. The rich diversity of our backgrounds is very reassuring. And I think this blog series is showing just that, how a diverse group of young scientists are immersed in a similar path that culminates with a same goal, increasing our knowledge about water treatment so we can make our world a better place (our PhD title is just an extra bonus).

I always knew I wanted to work with wastewater. I studied environmental engineering in my hometown Cochabamba, Bolivia. For my bachelor thesis, I worked with constructed wetlands as a biological technology to treat wastewater.

Later, my first work experience was in leachate treatment plant in the municipal landfill of La Paz. My work consisted in attending a combination of biological technologies for the removal of pollutants. I remember being so intrigued on the ability of microorganisms to degrade such a tremendous amount of pollution load. The three following years I kept on working in water treatment related fields.

However, a couple of years later, I felt the urge to keep learning more about the underlying removal mechanisms of wastewater.

Fortunately, that ambition came true when I was a recipient of the scholarship for postgraduate studies. My learning quest took me to do a master at Wageningen University, where I followed the environmental technology track driven by my passion to learn how to treat wastewater.

Following my master thesis, I did a research internship at the IHE-Delft Water Institute, where I worked as an independent researcher using an innovative biological treatment technology called Algammox.

The successful culmination of master studies left me even more eager to continue my quest for deepen my knowledge on biological wastewater treatments.  Both work and academic experiences showed me that microorganisms are tougher than I thought. Those little fellows don’t seize to surprise me, and they are continuously helping us to remove contaminants from our water.

So now, I’m currently immersed in unraveling the way denitrifying bacteria biodegrade micropollutants as an Early Stage Researcher in Nowelties.

So far, my academic journey thought me that science it is not always easy, but we could always learn from bacteria, they adapt to the extreme conditions and can still thrive … what a resilient life form!  I feel so lucky to be working with those badass organisms.