During our recent visit to Mozambique, we met with Dr Claudia Baule (DVM, PhD). Her enthusiasm towards biosciences presented an excellent chance to interview her more closely on her career as a scientist as well as her views on the role of biosciences not only in Mozambique but in the whole Southern Africa region. Due to the length of the interview, the below is a shortened version, and the full article can be found here.
Personal background and career
Dr Baule, founder of Quantum BioTechnologies Lda, developed her professional background in molecular virology and biotechnology. “My first degree in Veterinary Medicine was done at University Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. I proceeded with my post-graduate studies – MSc and PhD – at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden,” she elaborates.
In her 20 years of experience as a researcher, she has carried out projects, also in EU consortia, on molecular characterization of pathogens, genomics and proteomics underlying the mechanisms of viral infections, development of molecular tools for detection of pathogens, and development of tests and vaccines based on recombinant proteins and other molecular approaches (third generation vaccines). She has also led the implementation of the initial stage of a biotechnology program in Mozambique, aiming to introduce biotechnology as a tool to address sustainable development.
Dr Baule’s company strives to build systems that can act as a basis for local development. She believes that a correct problem-solving methodology can improve production and income generation; an astute advocate of awareness building, involving communities in conservation and sound production practises. Their mangrove project is an example of improving an ecosystem important to the community, leading to an economic, environmental, social and cultural impact as well as contributing to potential eco-tourism. She also notes that community participation is important to empowering youth and women.
Advice for young female scientists
Dr Baule said she would like to advise aspiring young female scientists and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, “to stride with passion for ideas that deeply resonate with a sense of purpose, and never to give up – especially in the face of adversity”. She believes problems, hindrances and difficulties are integral to the process of learning and growing, and to an open mind, challenges only present opportunities: “You should always believe in yourselves and to think of yourselves as capable as fellow male scientists/entrepreneurs, regardless of the stale dogmas and backward mentalities that may want to make you believe otherwise. Maintain a set of principles and values and stay focused on the target as the key to succeed. Be bold enough to make choices, decisions and even take chances when it feels right. Finally, regard yourselves as entities who have a lot to contribute to your countries and to humanity.”
While talking about the role of females in sciences, she also notes that entrepreneurship among females is also on the rise: “It has been good to see that the understanding that women can have a transformative role as entrepreneurs has been evolving positively in this part of the world. There is a shift from the prejudice and lack of support that was there before, and a growing number of local and international initiatives to encourage woman entrepreneurs, which is highly commendable. I would personally like to see more local women take on leading roles, and to aim for top of the chain positions like CEOs and business investors.”
Full article here.