Dr Sofia Teixeira, Senior Researcher at Tyndall, shares the path that led her to her current role and the people and culture that supported her rise to success.
What is your current role?
I am a Senior Researcher at Tyndall, working on the development of novel electrochemical sensors with a focus on process design and fabrication using 3D printing. My research will enable applications that previously were not possible, such as enabling minimally invasive surgery using flexible and stretchable 3D surfaces.
In 2015, I was one of three Research Fellows funded under the Engineering Research Network, where I was recognised for my expertise in the field of biosensing. Since then, I have had the opportunity to get involved in collaborative projects with international industry and academic institutions bridging the development of biosensing platforms with medical applications enabling earlier, rapid and onsite testing.
Given my invaluable experience and multidisciplinary background, I’ve been pivotal in the implementation of biosensing technologies and clinical validation in Tyndall.
What path led you here?
I started my professional career seventeen years ago in civil construction where I was one of only a few women amongst hundreds of men. Eleven years ago, I decided I needed a change in my life so I went back to academia to do a PhD in Nanotechnology and electrochemical biosensing in the UK. At this time, I didn’t even speak English, but I thought that should be something to motivate me instead of discouraging me. After my PhD and several research positions I started working in Tyndall three years ago. I was promoted to Senior Researcher last year from now on, the sky is the limit!
Did you have a role model who influenced your career choice?
From a young age, I was curious to understand how things worked and how they were made. The little yet integral details behind materials and devices intrigued me. Growing up, my father was a very practical person and when I became curious about something he was working on, he would patiently explain it to me. He was my role model and his teaching is what truly influenced my decision to pursue a career in engineering.
How has working at Tyndall enabled you to fulfil your potential?
Working at Tyndall has given me the opportunity to progress to the next stage of my career, one that I am thriving in. I work closely with both industry and clinicians which helps me apply my expertise in biosensing in a collaborative environment. These collaborations help to transfer my research from the lab to real world where it can have the biggest impact. I have the freedom to pursue my own ideas and to contribute to something much bigger.
What advice would you give your younger self?
- To take my time and understand what I truly want to pursue.
- Do not be afraid to take risks and above all, to do what makes me happy and motivated.
- Never give up on my dreams!