Ingrida Olendraite

Ingrida Olendraite

Position: Postdoctoral researcher at University of Cambridge

Research focus: RNA virus discovery and molecular biology

What do you love about viruses?
I think they are very fun and I love how every time there is something unexpected hiding in their small RNA genomes. Never ending exploration for a molecular biologist.

On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
COVID and emerging infectious diseases – I have given such talk for non-scientific audience very many times already.

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Endurance exercise (running, swimming etc), taking a bath and a speciality coffee with my family.

What are you currently learning?
How to take better care of myself.

What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
I am very interested in Astrobiology and extremophiles. So in the overlap with my current research, I would say RNA viruses in Archaea – do they actually exist?

What was your biggest achievement, and what your biggest failure?
Easily, growing and giving birth to my baby is my biggest life-changing achievement – way much more difficult and challenging than anything else I’ve done before. Biggest failure – I had to take multiple English language exams and barely made it (so could study in the UK).

Which scientific topic (outside of your field of research) do you think should have more scientific attention?
Rare diseases – some of them are very heavily influencing lives of many people, but due to the cost are quite frequently overlooked and even less frequently making it to the medical treatment options. Also muscular dystrophy is, in my opinion, very life-impacting disorder and based on its severity – should have much more attention.

If you had the option to advise a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
Life work balance is the key – take care of yourself.