Maria Magdalena Razalan

Favourite Thing: What I love about science is the excitement of setting up new experiments, I am always very thrilled about the results!



2000-2005: Scientific Secondary School (Italy) / 2005-2009: Biotechnology interfaculty School, 2009-2011: Industrial Biotechnology


MSc in Industrial Biotechnology, BSc in Biotechnology

Work History:

Besides science jobs and while studying I’ve done many different things, such as movie extra (fun to see movies from a different point of view!), tutor for a language learning trip in Ireland, Events’ organizer, Charity Fundraiser…so fun!

Current Job:

I’m a PhD student, with a research project funded by the European Commission (Marie S. Curie Actions)


Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), University of York

Me and my work

I study some components from plants aiming at finding useful compounds and valuable applications!

For thousands of years we’ve used extracts from plants for their good effects on human health…from the tea you have during the day to for example Artemisia. Have you heard of this plant recently? Scientist YouYou Tu made a very important discovery  more than fourty years ago: a compound called qinghaosu, aka artemisinin, contained in this plant is effective against malaria! For this reason YouYou Tu won the Nobel Prize for Medicine this year!

With my research project, following the  steps of Japanese scientists Ryo Sato and Tsuneo Omura, I am trying to unravel the function of some compounds in plants, called CytochromeP450, that can be used for valuable applications, such as for example bioremediation (cleaning up the environment).

My Typical Day

Each day can be different… I start with a good cup of tea, possibly some cake (hehe!), then some experiments in the laboratory and reading papers from other scientists around the world working in the same field as me.

What I'd do with the money

I’d organize a full-day hands-on workshop in the lab, with colourful and fun experiments + a science-based show with other colleagues from other departments (Environment, Chemistry, Maths…which means more fun from different subjects!!)

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

creative, generous, curious

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I like Mumford&Sons!

What's your favourite food?

i love falafels, pasta …and polenta with sausages!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

trekking in Nepal, snorkeling in Thailand, backpacking in Japan

What did you want to be after you left school?

a scientist!

Were you ever in trouble at school?

eeehhmm sometimes…I was very chatty!

What was your favourite subject at school?

some chunks of Epic Literature and Biology!

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

I’ve been lucky enough to visit many countries and get to meet a lot of young researchers like me as well as very famous scientists (including Nobel prize winners!)

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

…my first contact with science: the CSI tv show. My love for science museums and all the funny science outreach activities i got somehow involved in did the rest :)

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

an Indiana Jones-style traveller/archeologist!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

1.have unlimited access to flights around the world /2.being always happy/3.being wealthy enough to support good causes and STEM research centres

Tell us a joke.

what sort of TV programmes do ducks like? DUCK-umentaries! (we have so many ducks in York!)

Other stuff

Work photos: