Born in Milan in 1994, she has both an eclectic and international CV. In fact, she has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies and 3 Masters of Science (Business Administration, Health Management and Communication, Biostatistics); obtained a scholarship to carry out a research project within the Geriatrics and Social epidemiology fields; studied and worked in a number of places abroad, such as Switzerland, Germany, Israel and USA. Here’s our interview to Carlotta Micaela Yarach, currently researcher in Epidemiology at Istituto Mario Negri in Milan and co-founder of Mada Advances, an all-female online channel addressing science-related topics.
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Carlotta Micaela Jarach, I hold a degree in Biostatics and I’m currently engaged in epidemiological studies at the Laboratory of Lifestyle Epidemiology at Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan. Besides my research activity, I also write about Science.
What’s Epidemiology all about?
It’s that branch of Medicine that studies the distribution of a disease or other significant health-related events. It also identifies the risk factors and causes blocking the development of a disease or other event. By studying Biotechnologies, I’ve realized that I wasn’t interested in working behind the counter. I was more into studying the enigma of Biology, into understanding why some events happen and that’s what Epidemiology is all about. It aims at solving riddles in populations and figure out why certain people are more likely than others to get ill or die.
What are you currently working on?
My research currently focuses on a symptom that afflicts great part of the population, which is called tinnitus. It’s an unpleasant ringing in the ears or head that negatively affects the quality of life of the people suffering from it. It’s a complex condition and, as a consequence, there isn’t yet an effective therapy for all kinds of patients or all kinds of tinnitus. The goal of my PhD, therefore, is to contribute in some way to a better understanding of this symptom.
Despite your international background, you’ve decided to work in Italy. How come?
As far as my academic career is concerned, most of the decisions I’ve made were based on a careful evaluation of all the opportunities available out there. Even though I had always a prompt answer to questions such as «What are you going to do in 5 years? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? », there are so many things that can happen in 5 years that it’s good to have a plan, but it’s also good to change it. I’ve therefore decided to do in research in Milan because, back then, it was the best opportunity out there in terms of research team, career prospects, personal interests and much more.
What are the challenges you face as a researcher?
We face challenges every day. We have to deal, for example, with experiments that fail or, even worse, that produce totally unexpected results; with reviewers that reject a paper you’ve been working on for months; with financial uncertainty. For sure, having a strong and supportive team is crucial to overcome the many challenges any researcher like me faces daily.