Melisa Mariel Gianetti

Nationality: Argentina
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU)

1- When did you realise that you wanted to pursue a career in a science and technology field? What were your motivations to make this decision?

I started to think about doing a career in science while I was working as a chemist for a pharmaceutical company after graduating. The motivations at that moment where, on the one hand, getting out of my comfort zone and look for new challenges. On the other hand, I was young and I had the time and fresh mind to work without time limits.

2-  Give an overview of your professional path.

I got my degree in Chemistry from the University of Mar del Plata and I worked for two years for a pharmaceutical company there, as part of the QC and R&D laboratory. After that I did my PhD in Physical Chemistry in the University of Buenos Aires and moved back to my city to join the Nanostructured Polymers Division in the Institute of Materials Science and Technology as a postdoctoral fellow. We researched on polymeric materials with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. During my time in Argentina I was a teaching assistant in the University of Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires. Subsequently I moved to Milan to study friction phenomena through non-equilibrium MD simulations in the Physics Department of the University of Milan. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow within the EU-SSLiP project in Trondheim.

3-  Provide a short overview of your job. What are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibility is performing MD simulations with two aims: on the one hand we focus on helping to understand experimental results; on the other hand, we make predictions on the behavior of a given material to avoid trial-and-error in the lab or buying very expensive samples that might not be relevant for the purpose of the project. Minor responsibilities include attending/organising meetings for discussion with collogues and seminars that can enrich my role within the project and my professional growth.

4-  What do you find the most rewarding in your job? What do you find the most challenging in your job?
The most rewarding is the possibility of interacting with people from many disciplines and also travelling and living in different countries. The most challenging in my job is being updated with the research in the field and finding vacancies where my independent research could go. I should fill a niche in the field with a research line also suitable for the institution which would hire me. So sometimes it is difficult to focus in the current research because the contracts are short and one has to give a lot of time to writing proposals fulfilling all these requirements, otherwise you become unemployed.

5- What is your role within the SSLiP project? How do you expect your work in SSLiP project to contribute to your career development?

My role within the SSLiP project is to create a bridge between single-contact experiments and multi-contact simulations with single-contact MD simulations. My work in SSLiP is definitely contributing to my career development because I am learning how to work together with so many groups where each group has a specific assignment and we have all the same final target. It is also fruitful to expand my scientific network and test myself as a more independent researcher given that I have a specific assignment to carry out and it is one of the building blocks of the whole project.