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RIPE Spotlight: Patty Lopez-Calcagno

Patty Lopez

What makes RIPE the project that it is today is attributable to our team members who dedicate their hard work and efforts to our mission—feeding the world in the face of climate change and a growing population. This postdoctoral feature series focuses on sharing the new endeavors of our researchers as they move on to the next chapter in their lives. 

In 2013, Patty Lopez-Calcagno joined the RIPE consortium, where her work was focused on manipulating RuBP regeneration to increase plant photosynthetic performance and yield. For the RIPE project, her research interests spanned the use of synthetic biology and transgenics to develop strategies to optimize crop performance with the aim of ensuring food security in a changing world. Patty was previously a Senior Research Officer at the University of Essex. She recently took a full time faculty position, while we are sad to see her go, we are excited to see what she does in the future. Read more about Patty here

Where is your new opportunity, what is your title, and what will you be doing?

Starting in March of 2022, I will be taking on a Lecturer position that is equivalent to assistant professorship in the US system at Newcastle University in the UK. This will allow me to run my own group and research lines. I will also be looking at how we can better understand photosynthesis regulation mechanisms, specifically under non-optimal and changing environments, and then use this novel understanding in the development of more resilient and higher yielding crops. 

How have your experiences at RIPE helped you prepare for this? 

RIPE has seen me work on long term projects, allowing me to take them from beginning to end, and also allowing me to learn to identify when something should be dropped and where to put my time and effort. The traveling and networking opportunities I’ve had as part of RIPE have also widened my perspective and allowed me to form a fantastic network of mentors, collaborators, and good friends. These will all be essential for this new role and my long term goals. 

What advice do you have for current RIPE postdocs?

Network and form relationships… Many of the postdocs that I connected with through RIPE are now both very dear friends and super valuable colleagues whom I hope to continue to do groundbreaking research with for the rest of my career. I’ve also met incredible mentors who were pivotal in getting to the position I am in now. Science—and academia—can be a hard, competitive environment, but I think that the best results come when we work together on common goals.The structure of the RIPE consortium really allows this, so take as much advantage as you can from it. The real impact of our work will be much higher for it! 

As told to: Amanda Nguyen || RIPE Communications Specialist