It’s a bittersweet time here at ARMI. Hozana Castillo, a postdoctoral researcher with the Kaslin Group, will be heading home to Brazil after two invigorating years with us. Although we’re sad to see her go, we are excited to see her expand her career and move on to new challenges. Joining ARMI in 2016, Hozana has since made Australia her second home, growing strong bonds with fellow members of the Kaslin Group, ARMI and Melbourne.
“I love living in Melbourne” smiled Hozana, “I remember my first year here. I was complaining so much because it was too cold – I’m from the centre of Brazil!’ she exclaimed. “But looking back, I’m so happy with my decision, it was a very intense time – I worked a lot, but I learnt so much. I felt I was respected as a professional and had open access to the people I needed to talk to.”
Studying spinal cords in mouse and chick models, Hozana completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Through natural interest and a career change, Hozana found herself drawn towards spinal cord regeneration. After searching for a suitable lab specialising in this area, Hozana took an interest in the work conducted by ARMI. She made her first connection with researchers from ARMI in 2014 that were visiting Brazil and made contact with them shortly after for a position – and we’re so glad she did!
If forced to look for a perk regarding Hozana’s impending move — it’s the ABC symposium. The ABC (Australia, Brazil and Chile) symposium is a long-term engagement for ARMI, working to foster relationships with partners and collaborators in the field of regenerative medicine and developmental biology. Bringing scientists from the Brazilian Bioscience National Laboratory, The University of Campinas, The University of Chile, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and ARMI together, the symposium promotes discourse on current and upcoming research projects in regenerative medicine.
Hozana’s connection to the ABC symposium is a personal one. Now, with established relationships in both Brazil and Australia, it will be a focus for her when she moves home. “It’s great to have the annual symposiums” said Hozana, “it allows us to work together and develop strategies” she continued. “It allows people from ARMI to grow connections in Chile and Brazil, strengthen exisitng connections and foster new collaborations.” On Hozana’s return, and with her experience and Brazilian and Australian contacts, we are confident Hozana will do a great job of supporting the Brazilian side of our collaborations.
Despite the demanding nature of her career, Hozana always made time to be the tourist, taking every opportunity she could to travel to the edges of Australia. In typical tourist fashion, we can say Hozana has seen more of Australia than our resident Australian researchers and is returning home with plenty of stories.
Despite the distance, we’re confident Hozana will be closer than we think. If not, geologically, but collaboratively. With her knowledge of research, networks and ambition to start up a research group of her own, we’ll be waiting eagerly for news. Thank you for lending us your unique personality and passion for science – we look forward to hearing all you achieve in the years to come.