How I became interested in my area of study/research/discipline:
As a lover of nature, I started my undergraduate studies in biological sciences first with an emphasis on zoology which later changed into botany. Once I was accepted in graduate school, I realized that I preferred to work with plants better than with animals and thus, I re-directed my interests to study botany and chemistry. I combined both interests by getting a major in phytochemistry (chemistry of plants). This multi-disciplinary field allowed me to further expand my research interests into the biomedical field. As one opportunity lead to another, I dedicated my academic life to the discovery of new chemicals from plant and microbial biodiversity for human health and to study the safety and efficacy of botanical dietary supplements. My research is interdisciplinary, combining chemistry, medicine and biology.
An honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to me:
My most meaningful achievement is having raised two sons as a single mother from the time that they were infants and while going to graduate school and up the academic ladder.
Someone I admire:
Maria Sklodowska Curie for changing the course of history, for her scientific accomplishments and for her ongoing battle with France’s chauvinistic science community of her time.
Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:
My parents for encouraging me to think, to read, to ask questions as well as to pursue my dreams and to not be afraid of studying physical and natural sciences.
Most favorite/least favorite memory as a student:
Most favorite memory: going on field trips to discover and unravel the mysteries of nature and life
Least favorite memory: having to take mandatory classes on accounting and political sciences
An important life lesson I have learned:
Not succumbing to negative events and not being afraid of trying new experiences
A favorite quote or saying:
“Omnia Mea Mecum Porto” (translation from Latin: “I carry my all with me”). To be happy, to be a free person, be self-sufficient: carry your all with you.
My hopes for the world:
Peace and harmony among all living creatures in the world.