Ilma Tapio

IlmaTell us about yourself.
My name is Ilma Tapio. I am a molecular biologist-population geneticist at MTT Agrifood Research Finland holding MSc in molecular biology and biotechnology from Vytautas Magnus University and PhD in biomedical sciences from the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy (Kaunas, Lithuania). So far I had quite nomadic professional life. My career in science started by screening heavily contaminated soil for bacteria capable to digest naphthalene and studying genes involved in naphthalene biodegradation. After a period of exploring genetic diversity in livestock populations, I joined a project in Kenya in which we set up next generation sequencing capacity to study diversity of known and identification of potentially new pathogens to humans and livestock. In 2011 I returned to MTT and joined Animal Genomics group. My particular research interests at MTT are to study interactions between rumen microorganisms and their hosts through microbial metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches.

What is your role in RuminOmics?
I am involved in three animal experiments performed at MTT. My main responsibilities are to ensure smooth flow in research from rumen sample collection to microbial sequence data analysis and result interpretation.

What interested you most about the project?
To be part of research that can have practical applications. I enjoy studying ecology and metabolic potential of rumen symbiotic microorganisms through application of advanced molecular methods.

What and/or who inspired you to make a career in science?
I think that it was the profession that chose me and not me who chose the profession. For my interest in molecular biology I am grateful to my first supervisor Dr. Rolandas Meskys, the head of department of molecular microbiology and biotechnology at the Institute of Biochemistry at Vilnius University.

Did you have any other career aspirations?
Yes, I wanted to be landscape designer.

What is your favourite day of the week and why?
My favourite day of the week is Tuesday. When I am able to, I go orienteering. It is a very popular sport in Nordic countries.

If you could travel in time would you go to the past or future and why?
I would definitely travel to the past. It would be interesting to see if scientific explanation of past events is accurate enough.