In search of a solution for pests
Cristina Crava, Ramón y Cajal researcher in the BIOTECMED group at the University of Valencia
I am Cristina Crava, a molecular entomologist in the BIOTECMED group at the University of Valencia, where we study the relationship between insects and their entomopathogens (bacteria or viruses) and plants. Our long-term goal is to develop products or techniques to improve the use of entomopathogens in crops to control pests. We are also carrying out basic research as part of a collaborative project funded by the Human Frontier Science Programme (HFSP), an international research funding programme, with different teams based in Castellón, London and Peru. In this project, we are investigating how baculoviruses can manipulate the sense of smell of caterpillars, turning them into zombies and changing the way they interact with plants.
My day usually consists of sitting at the computer, answering emails, planning and writing. Then I usually go into the lab, talk to my students, see what they are doing and, in special cases, sit down and look at the results. Then I go back to the office and do computer and bioinformatics analyses for the different projects we are doing or, if I have time, read some articles.
You can do good science in Spain. I have had direct research experience in other countries, such as Italy and Germany, and I do not think Spain is the worst in Europe, but you have to work harder than in other countries and in the end it can be exhausting.
Interview and text editing: Marta Gutiérrez and Inés Pérez Peris