Month: March 2021

Laura Pirro, PhD

E045 How Can the Agile Approach Work in Research? Between Academia and R&D in Agriculture

Dr. Laura Pirro is an Italian chemical engineer, who obtained her PhD at Laboratory for Chemical Technology of Ghent University at the end of 2020. Currently, Laura works as an R&D engineer at Yara Sluiskil, in the Netherlands, in the field of agricultural products.
In this episode, she will tell us more about several aspects which characterized her professional life choices so far and some lessons learned on the way.
Here are some highlights:

Not everybody is ready to start a PhD at the same time. After obtaining her master in 2014, Laura decided to work in the chemical industry for a couple of years, to get a taste of the ‘world outside of academia’, before deciding whether to commit to a post-graduate study. During this episode, we will discuss the pros and cons of such a decision.
Your PhD is not only about your own research. During her doctoral studies, Laura got engaged with numerous activities which went beyond her specific domain of study, including an initiative to bring the Agile philosophy for project management into academic research projects. We will ask her about how this initiative developed and what added value Agile can have for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers.
Finding two jobs in the year of the pandemics: mission (im)possible? As the end of her PhD was approaching, Laura had to search for her way back into the chemical industry…but a few pitfalls came across, including getting fired after only three weeks because of financial instability of the company that hired her. We will explore with her how to evaluate the options at the end of your PhD, and how to get back on your feet if the professional world punches you in the face.

Olga Ukolova, MD, RGB, BitcoinPro, MyCitadel

E044 From Medical Studies to Building Censorship-Resistant Computing Ecosystems Towards Immortality

Dr. Olga Ukolova holds the title of Doctor of Medicine obtained from the National Medical University ‘O.O. Bogomolec’, Kyiv. While obtaining the title, she worked as a Research Scientist at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Her research considered autophagy in Alzheimer’s disease, and autophagy perspective of heart attacks and strokes. After that, she worked as a Project Manager and Senior Analyst in software development, banking and AI development fields.
With time, she and a group of enthusiasts and professionals in various fields, started working on the idea of creating a decentralized, private and censorship-resistant computing ecosystem, which would eventually lead to fulfilling the ultimate goal – reaching immortality. She co-authored the FreeAI manifesto (manifesto.ai), where the group established their core principles. On the same note, she co-founded a Swiss company Pandora Core AG, which is currently focusing on building technological layers and products that would become building blocks of the future evolution of Bitcoin ecosystem, thus also bringing the initial idea of immortality closer to reality. One of the most known technologies, where Pandora Core is the main driver, is RGB – a privacy-first smart contracting and bearer rights system, which enables many real-world cases to be done in a proper way: with individualism and sovereignty at heart. Though, Olga’s interests are not lying solely on protocol-level activities. Recently her company released Bitcoin Pro and MyCitadel products, which would bring more power to the individuals and help them operate in the digital world with confidence and professionalism.

Career talks for PhDs: Olga Pougovkina, PhD

E043 How to Adapt to the Corporate World As a PhD? How to Play the Like a Pro?

Dr. Olga Pougovkina is a scientific leader in the R&D sector of Janssen Biologics where she works within the analytical development for early, late phase and commercial biologics. She obtained her PhD in Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam after which she decided to leave academia. While finishing her PhD she faced the challenges of making career choices and transitioning into industry firsthand. She also soon saw that career development doesn’t stop after getting your dream job as you’re constantly growing further and moving into new directions
This inspired her to start her company Post PhD Career where she gives career development advice to scientists through lectures, workshops and coaching..

Maria-Otworowska-PhD-SkinBliss-Skin-Bliss

E010 Building a Startup as a PhD: The Life of a Founder in the Cosmetics Industry

Dr. Maria Otworowska holds a PhD degree in the Computational Cognitive Science awarded by the Radboud University Nijmegen. Before her PhD program, she completed her Master’s degree in Cognitive Science at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. She also spent one year at Università Degli Studi Di Catania as an Erasmus student. During her PhD she, like many others before her and undoubtedly many after her, tried to explain how the brain works, with a focus on learning and decision making.

Towards the end of her PhD, she made one of the most difficult decisions in her life and she decided to leave academia and try her luck in “the real world”. Uncertain what to do, she randomly moved to Barcelona without knowing the language or anybody there, where she entered the corporate world as a data scientist at King, an independent unit of Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), an entertainment company producing games. As life experiences go, most of them are to a certain degree useful and educational, some may also be motivating, and such was this one. She quickly realized that the corporate world was not her life path, and it gave her all the courage and motivation needed to believe in her an original startup idea hat she got meanwhile, and pursue it full time.

She quickly got sucked into the app dev world and her first “side project,” after many additional adventures, became her current life path. She went from cognitive science to… skincare and chemistry (but with a healthy dose of AI as well). Now she is a proud founder of Skin Bliss (https://skinbliss.app) and was awarded a place in one of the most important accelerators in the beauty industry—Sephora Accelerate—where she has been receiving mentoring and guidance on her business.