Rebecca Neilson

IMG_20150301_151415Tell us about yourself
My name is Rebecca Neilson and I worked for EAAP in Rome, Italy. Originally, I was born outside of Seoul, South Korea and was adopted when I was seven years old to an American family in Seattle, Washington. I have moved around a bit and now have been living in Rome, Italy for the last nine years. My first degree was in Cellular and Molecular Biology and I also have a Masters in Health Administration.

What is your role in RuminOmics?
I work on the Work Packages (WP) 9 and 10 which have to do with dissemination of project outputs to a broad audience. I work closely with Cled Thomas in the EAAP office in Rome.

What interested you most about the project?
I came into the project half-way through. But what fascinates me, as a lay person, are the types of research we are doing to try to better understand the impact of ruminant livestock on the environment.

What and/or who inspired you to make a career in science?
My first degree was in Biology and it was my intent to do research, particularly in human disease such as HIV/AIDS. I was particularly inspired by a high school biology teacher who was always full of information and made learning science fun. I asked him what he did differently than most people with the knowledge he had of biology. He told me he ate bread that was in early stages of mould development. I loved the answer and I still think about it to this day.

What do you enjoy most about the work?
I enjoy the people. RuminOmics, like most of the EU projects I work on, provides for opportunities to meet people from Europe and sometimes from around the world. It’s been interesting in getting to know some great scientists and yet realizing how small the network really is as everyone seems to know each other!

Did you have any other career aspirations?
Well, when I was younger, I wanted to be a nun. The idea of having a simpler life seemed desirable. But… the idea only lasted a year 🙂

If you could travel in time would you go to the past or future and why?
I have nine-year old son, and I question whether I am a good parent or whether or not he will be okay… I would love to have a peek into the future to see how he turns out, just to know if I’m doing the right thing.