Mrs Céline Terrettaz

Can you say a few words about yourself ?
I originated from Canton Valais in Switzerland. I studied at the University of Lausanne where I obtained a Bachelor in biology and a Master in molecular life sciences. Following that, I occupied various positions of lab assistant or lab technician at the Universities of Lausanne, Bern and Neuchâtel before joining EPFL.

Did you choose your profession or did it choose you ?
I have been convinced about my interest in biology since I was teenager and I guess my curiosity and amazement for the complexity and beauty of Nature guided me naturally towards the research domain. I choose the profession and would definitely choose it again!

What attracted you to join LAPI ?
LAPI is bringing its expertise of aerosol science to the SNSF-funded SINERGIA “IVEA” project. I have been recruited in the context of the project, supporting both LEV and LAPI at EPFL, as laboratory technician. Within LAPI, I am collaborating with Dr. Ghislain Motos.

Can you speak about the projects you are currently working on and other ones in the past ?
The general goal of the “IVEA” project is to understand the physical, chemical and biological parameters favoring the stability of airborne human viruses. In this context, aerosols are of major importance. Together, experts in related fields are combining their knowledges to better characterize the fate of viral particles expelled from an infected host.
Studying viruses is completely new to me. In the past, I mostly worked with environmental bacteria, contributing to projects about their biotic and abiotic interactions, using mainly molecular approaches.

What have been some of your biggest challenges ?
R is a challenge, every time I have to come back to it. Also, being self-confident is quite often an issue for me, but I have the chance to be surrounded by people who makes it easier to overcome.

What have been some of your biggest successes ? 
I don’t know if I have big successes to mention. However, I like to celebrate and share all the small ones that happen every day. Science is hard sometimes, so it helps me to remember that not everything is bad even if a promising experiment failed or if results are not as good as expected. Also, it gives me more opportunities to have some chocolates!

You split your time between teaching and research. How do you view these two roles ?
I currently don’t have a teaching duty however, I really liked all the previous opportunities I had to teach during practical classes or to supervise students in the lab. I particularly enjoy to share knowledges but also tips I acquired with practice. Sciences popularization for the general public and for children is also something I appreciate because we get point of view of very different people outside of research.

What do you enjoy to do, outside of science and research ?
To be honest, I enjoy the calmness of my home and spending time with my family. A bit of reading, an occasional hike and some TV are sufficient to keep me happy. Also, I try to take the chance to just appreciate the nature around me even in its simplest aspects.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been ?
I still have to discover it 😊

A free thought for the end ?
Stay open and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone (I know easier said than done 😊), you never know how far this can bring you!