Dr Natalia Sacilotto

Post-doctoral Researcher, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

Dr Natalia Sacilotto knew from a young age that she wanted to be a scientist and fondly remembers playing with chemistry sets. After deliberately choosing to study science at high school she went on to do a degree in biochemistry and then a PhD in transcriptional regulation at the University of Valencia.

She has been a post-doctoral researcher in Dr Sarah De Val’s group in the Ludwig Institute for nearly 4 years. She researches the transcriptional regulation of vascular growth in physiologic and pathologic conditions and has recently returned to work following 6 months maternity leave after the birth of her first child.

She admits that it has been difficult returning to work but that she is in a ‘really lucky position’ as both Dr De Val and her husband have been ‘really supportive’ and she feels that she has managed to achieve a good work/life balance. Additionally she believes that ‘NDM are working hard to support women in science’ and have been particularly supportive during her maternity leave and return to work.

“It is tough returning to work after maternity leave but if you have people who support you it is much easier.”

“It is difficult to keep a balance between being a mother and working in science but it is possible.”

Sarah De Val hired someone to cover Natalia’s period of maternity leave. This meant that even though Natalia was away from the lab that her project kept on moving forward. When she returned to work she was therefore able to quickly resume the project, as earlier planned experiments had been completed or were already in progress. Additionally, the MRC extended her contract for the duration of her maternity leave.

“The ability to take 6 months maternity leave was really important and I felt that this was exactly the right amount of time.”

“The best thing that I have done as a scientist is to get a job at the University of Oxford in Sarah’s lab. The working environment is really good and I am able to work on a very good project with people that I like.”