Research Scientist and Team Leader at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
Living in Western Australia, Australia
Mariana discovered her passion for science when she was about 6 years old. With a biology teacher mother and an engineer father, the world seemed full of life sciences puzzles to solve. She is still passionate about science as a whole, and biosecurity, in particular.
Mariana’s undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences was followed by a Master’s degree in Plant Ecology (plant and soil interactions) in the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil, where she is from. She then accepted an offer to do her PhD on Plant Physiological Ecology (plants in phosphorus-impoverished soils) in Perth, Australia, where she remained and is now a citizen.
Her professional career spanned multiple fields, from molecular science advisor for Qiagen, to environmental consultant doing botanical surveys across Western Australia, landing on biosecurity work. The biosecurity work started with weed surveys and developed into all terrestrial species (plants, invertebrates and vertebrates). Studying pathways, surveillance and how to use biological and ecological science to improve control.
Mariana has also worked as a science communicator on radio and in news. She currently works for CSIRO as a researcher and a team leader, and is also a Director of the Board of the Australian Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation. Her ambition is to raise the profile of biosecurity to the general population, and to collaborate with scientists from other fields to drive innovation and lateral thinking.
At home, Mariana is a wife, mother and stepmother who is keen on gardening (with a small obsession for weeding), reading, and being active.