Unique Scientist: Sara Elg

Time to meet Sara Elg (She/her)! Sara is a parasitologist by training originally from Sweden and currently working at the Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine in the UK studying insecticide resistance in the mosquito that transmits malaria!

What kind of scientist are you?
I studied Parasitology at the University of Glasgow (BSc/MSci) and then went on to become an entomologist/virologist – working with mosquitoes and mosquito-borne viruses like Zika and Dengue – as a research technician at the MRC-UoG Centre for Virus Research. Currently I am working at the Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine where I have joined the fight against malaria by working on insecticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I fell hard for the study of biology as a high school student. I had a very inspiring science teacher and I loved that science is a universal language, it connects so many people who are interested in the same thing but come from different backgrounds. I went on to study anatomy my first year at university and then from there fell into infection biology – I’ve never looked back!

“I am a woman with crazy hair colours and no PhD, but that doesn’t make me or anyone else a bit different any less a scientist than that white man in a lab coat!”

Sara Elg

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
All scientists are unique! I like the initiative of UniqueScientists because it shines a light on the fact that not all scientists look the same or do the same thing. I wanted to send in my profile because through my outreach work with ScienceGrrl Glasgow I have realised that children when asked to draw a scientist almost invariably draw a man in a white lab coat. I am a woman with crazy hair colours and no PhD, but that doesn’t make me or anyone else a bit different any less a scientist than that white man in a lab coat!

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love to travel and try new activities – rock climbing, canyoning, kayaking… Anything outdoorsy!

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I would increase funding to all areas about a million-fold! There are so many fields that are important but underfunded. In science you never know where the next important discovery will come from and the impact it could have on something seemingly unrelated.

“It’s empowering to surround yourself with people who have the same passion and who have had to overcome similar challenges […]”

Sara Elg

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
There have definitely been teachers along the way in my studies, but I think the most inspiring group for me have been my fellow science ladies in ScienceGrrl Glasgow. It’s empowering to surround yourself with people who have the same passion and who have had to overcome similar challenges, for example because of their gender.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
It’s only Monday! I brought in Victoria Sponge cupcakes for all my colleagues to make it a great start to the week and I worked all weekend to help a colleague in need out with an important experiment.


#WomenInSTEM

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