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W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Q&A with MMI Alumna Ilinca Ciubotariu, MHS '17


PhD student, Biological Sciences, Purdue University 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Hopkins?

As part of the MHS program, I really enjoyed taking “Theory and Practice of Science” and “Anatomy of Scientific Error” courses as they allowed me to think differently about science and delve a bit deeper into philosophy, experimental rigor, and ethics.

What movie have you seen recently that you really enjoyed?

I recently saw Roma, a film by Alfonso Cuarón. It was a beautiful, moving, and engrossing black and white movie about culture and class with so many meaningful images. Not surprised it won best cinematography this year! 

What was your favorite place to eat in Baltimore?

Honestly, this is tough question because Baltimore has a lot of amazing food spots! I’d probably say El Taquito in Fell’s Point - an authentic Mexican restaurant that serves traditional plates like beef tongue tacos and reminds me of my trips to Mexico!

What song on your playlist do you like listening to most these days?

I listen to a wide variety of musical genres! Lately I’ve been listening to a French hip-hop song called Est-Ce Que Tu M’Aimes? by Maître Gims.

What skill or knowledge did you learn at SPH that you use or refer to today?

I’ve learned many useful skills at SPH, including R programming which I learned in a Statistics for Scientists course, and I will take with me in future genomic analysis and research. I’ve also greatly improved my scientific writing, which I will carry with me throughout my future scientific career.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Paris, hands down. 

What are you most looking forward to as you start your next journey (at Purdue)? 

I am most looking forward to working with Dr. Giovanna Carpi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue (JHMRI Postdoc Fellowship 2016-2018) carrying out meaningful research at the intersection of microbiology, evolution, and genomics. I worked in Doug Norris’s lab with her previously on a project investigating malaria parasite population diversity. And, of course, still being actively engaged with the R3ISE program and spreading the importance of rigor, responsibility, and reproducibility in science!

Where did you go on your most recent vacation?  

Most recently, I visited Barcelona and Tossa de Mar in Spain and then took a train to France and visited Montpellier and Paris! I was able to explore different cultures and eat delicious foods, all while putting my French and Spanish-speaking skills to work! 

What do you like to do for fun?

I absolutely love going on walks and exploring new neighborhoods and trying different foods! I also am a hobby photographer so I really enjoy snapping some photos (Instagram: @ilinca.ciubotariu)!

Ilinca was awarded the Frederick N. Andrews Fellowship, designed for the recruitment of outstanding PhD-track students to graduate programs at Purdue University. The fellowship provides a four-year award package and is given to the top incoming student.