The CBR Celebrates #WomenInScience: meet Dr. Patrícia de Oliveira Benedet, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dr. Conway Lab  

For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we had the pleasure of speaking with the CBR women scientists at different points in their career journey, including Dr. Patrícia de Oliveira Benedet, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dr. Conway Lab.

Tell us about yourself:

I am a Pharmacologist who specializes in the discovery and development of preclinical drugs. I have been working across academia and in a Contract Research Organization (CRO). I have a master and PhD in Pharmacology and my key current areas of interest include type two diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular research.

Tell us about your research:

Our laboratory has shown that expression levels of the transmembrane glycoprotein CD248 have been inversely correlated with adipose tissue function, insulin sensitivity, and glucose and lipid homeostasis in mice and humans. Additionally, in vivo suppression of adipocyte CD248 in mice reverses the detrimental effects on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. I am investigating the mechanisms by which CD248 acts as a molecular switch that induces the transition of white adipose tissue from a healthy to an unhealthy state during obesity and diabetes.

What sparked your interest in science?

My interest in science was sparked by two main factors. Firstly, my passion for science and medicine. I want to make a difference in the world and have a positive impact on people’s lives by improving human health and treating diseases. Secondly, curiosity and a desire to solve problems. As a Scientist, I need to solve complex scientific problems and understand the intricacies of biology and disease, which is challenging and rewarding for me.

What has been your biggest challenge as a scientist?

Coping with failure! I often put myself under significant pressure to produce results and make meaningful contributions to my field.  Failure or negative results can be disheartening, leading to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy despite having the necessary skills and knowledge for my work. I am still learning how to deal with my impostor syndrome.

What is your favourite thing about science?

Working as Scientist allows me to try out new ideas, test new hypotheses using cutting-edge technology, meet interesting people, and take part in engaging discussions. It is fantastic!

Do you have any advice for young girls interested in STEM?

I would advise all women and girls who are interested in science to stay curious and open-minded. Be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek out answers to things that intrigue you. Dive deep into the amazing world of knowledge. Believe that you can succeed in science and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

What award or achievement are you most proud of?

I have been fortunate to work on several very interesting projects during my career. When I worked at a CRO, I had a fantastic experience launching a novel cardiovascular research axis for the company. After that, the company was able to bring cardiometabolic drug candidates to the clinical phase faster and more efficiently.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Being a great scientist requires interpersonal skills. Advancing science goes hand in hand with a culture of collaboration. Science is often a team effort and good scientists are able to work well with others by sharing information and resources. Understanding the perspectives and motivations of others is essential for effective collaboration. Good collaborators are able to put themselves in others’ shoes and are respectful of different opinions. When eyes are opened to the support culture of collaboration, it’s magical.


Thanks to Patrícia for sharing her story with us! February 11 is recognized by the United Nations as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which highlights the contributions of women in STEM and aims for full and equal access to participation in science, technology, and innovation for women and girls.