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Introducing myself as a your new PLOS Synbio Community Editor

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

–  Carroll, in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)


Alice and the Red queen by John Tenniel


The aforementioned passage usually brings to mind the red queen hypothesis and evolutionary adaptation; though for me it has a more personal meaning, a realisation since my early childhood that I will have to sprint in order to move small steps forward. This blog marks such a small step that feels like a big leap: this is my first blog as a PLOS synbio community editor, after having contributed a few posts in the past regarding my interests in synthetic biology.


Uppsala in the summer, by K. Vavitsas

My journey so far is characterized by mobility and change. I did my B.Sc. at the University of Athens, Greece. I moved to the other side of the continent, in cold and picturesque Uppsala, Sweden, to do my M.Sc. in Applied Biotechnology. It was there that I was first exposed to synthetic biology by attending an iGEM info event, and in retrospect I regret that I did not take the step forward and sign up. Instead, I did my degree project on light adaptation of cyanobacteria, and these organisms form my field of research ever since.

The next stop was Copenhagen, where I did my PhD in synthetic biology of photosynthetic organisms at Copenhagen Plant Science  Centre, under the supervision of Professor Poul Erik Jensen. I was affiliated with the Centre for Synthetic Biology, and there I was encouraged to obtain a broader view of the discipline and try to see the big picture. I adopted an extrovert stance, I started engaging with the synbio community through blog posts and social media, I got involved with our local iGEM team. That led to my first contributions at PLOS synbio, as well as my engagement with EUSynBioS, the European Association of Synthetic Biology Students and Postdocs. Over these years, I met wonderful people and that was part of my motivation to continue being involved with biotechnology and synthetic biology, both inside and outside the lab.

Brisbane South Bank, by K.Vavitsas

Now I am writing this post from Brisbane, Australia. I secured a fellowship to continue working on synthetic biology tools of cyanobacteria, in the lab of A/Professor Claudia Vickers. Eager to connect with the synbio researchers of Australia, I got involved with Synthetic Biology Australasia where I serve as a member of the executive board. In my free time I read, I play the bass and sing (averagely), I dance tango, and I tend to my addiction to travelling.

I am really honoured that I was chosen to be a PLOS community editor. I have to thank the previous editors I worked with, Aakriti, Steven, and Daniela, as well as Aaron; they edited my posts and exposed my thoughts on a wide audience. It is my turn therefore to ask everyone who has something to say regarding synthetic biology to contact me with any post idea, any exciting news and any comment. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@konvavitsas) and LinkedIn, or drop me an email (k.vavitsas@uq.edu.au).



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