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07.09.2020 News

Meet Laura, the 2020 DIGS-BB Fellow!

Laura Celotto (Brand Group, CRTD) © Magdalena Gonciarz

The DIGS-BB Fellow Award 2020 went to Laura Celotto (Brand Group, CRTD TU Dresden) and Julia Vorhauser (Mansfeld Group, BIOTEC TU Dresden). The €2,000 award is given to the outstanding PhD students after completing their first year of doctoral work.
Laura agreed to answer a couple of questions to let us get to know her, and her research, better.

What are you working on?
I am trying to figure out how the injured retina repairs itself. The retina is a beautiful carpet of neurons that lines the back of the eye and allows vision. In several vision diseases the retinal cells are damaged. Humans are still unable to regenerate these cells, they are simply lost and lead to the long-term loss of vision. Zebrafish, on the other hand, can regenerate retinal cells. I study the retina regeneration in the zebrafish and try to understand how the Mueller glia cells sense the injury and how they produce happy neurons.

Have you always wanted to be a scientist?
I actually wanted to be an actress! But I decided to go for biology and specifically neurobiology. I am not regretting my choice. I think that watching a neuron at a microscope is an immense privilege. Sometimes I wish I can live a second life and be an actress as well. Maybe scientists will find the secret of immortality, and then I can think of building up a side career…

What is science for you?
Science is a method and a human product. It is a method, the best we have so far, to investigate nature and try to answer basic questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? What is the nature of the world we are living in? Science is a human product because it is the humans that perform science. As humans we have strengths but also weaknesses and biases. The scientists are therefore flawed humans trying to understand our world in the best way they can.

What was your most important shaping experience?
The three years I spent in Trieste, a beautiful city by the seaside in the North East of Italy. I studied for my Master degree in Neuroscience there. Trieste concentrates the best research institutes in Italy and it has an international atmosphere in which I met brilliant minds and made wonderful friends. I am in debt with Trieste and people I met there. They gave me the motivation and the opportunity to join the amazing city of Dresden.