Cristina Canal’s Interview to The Science and Engineering Cafe

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a very happy, healthy year with lots of breakthroughs in the field of Plasma Science. Plasmas have been studied for over a century and have been successfully applied for the development of nanomaterials and thin coatings, inactivation of harmful bacteria, etching of materials, just to name a few.

Dr. Cristina Canal, our featured Scientist of the Week spends endless hours researching new aspects of plasma research. As you will read in the interview below, in the next few years she will be focusing on applying plasmas for the treatment of bone cancer. She will be looking to hire experienced scientists to assist her with her research, so for those out there looking for employment opportunities please contact her directly.

Best of luck to you, Cristina!

Daphne Pappas

Cristina Canal’s Interview to The Science and Engineering Café


1)  Why and when did you decide to become a scientist?

In fact, that was a bit of serendipity…

When I finished my Bachelors, I started looking for a in industry. Then, at the same moment when I was about to start working for a company, I got an offer to start a PhD, and an old friend who is a Professor told me: “…if you don’t try this now you never will.” So I decided he was right and it was worth giving research a try. What happened in the end is that I felt the great pleasure of research: learning something new nearly every day; being able to question yourself about something, thinking how to solve it and actually finding the solution or discovering something unexpected along the way…This was how, little by little, I got addicted to science, and … here I am now.


2)  In your opinion, which is the most effective way to communicate your research? Journal articles, conference presentations, other?

Although journal articles reach a much greater audience, I think that a good conference presentation is by far the best way of communicating research. With a paper you usually focus on a single part of your own research, while with conferences you are able to give a broader perspective of what you’re dealing with, your main scientific focus, your main findings and how they relate to other scientists’ work. Most importantly, you are given the opportunity to think about the challenges you face or the doubts you are confronted with. After the conference people remember what you’re working on, and you often have the opportunity of discussing with researchers that have a lot of experience and who might be working in similar topics, so good collaborations may arise.


3)  Describe some of the professional challenges that you are currently facing and hope to overcome in the next few years? 

My biggest challenge in the coming years will be the development of my Starting Grant project, and establishing and consolidating my team. From the scientific point of view, I’m particularly interested in the effects of plasma on bone cancer, its possible mechanisms and how liquids may mediate in such effects.


4)  Do you spend time in the lab running your own experiments?

It is sometimes difficult to manage to go to the lab, but in fact it depends a lot on the season…there are times when I barely have any time to set foot in the lab, with meetings and paperwork occupying all my time. Other times, as in the last months, I might be very curious about something and then I’m so taken by research that I embark on series of experiments nearly non-stop…it’s fun!


5)  Several scientists from the Plasma field will read your interview on The Science and Engineering Café. Is there a message that you would like to send to them? Are you interested in new collaborations? Please provide details.

In the coming months I’ll have some open positions to work on my Starting Grant project that deals with Plasma Medicine applied to bone cancer. One of them will be for a post-doctoral researcher with experience in plasma medicine, most specifically in plasma physics and diagnostics from plasma-treated liquids. Another will be for a postdoc researcher with expertise in biomaterials science. There will be also two PhD positions in the same areas (Effects of plasmas in liquids & biomaterials science), so anyone interested in developing research in this field in Barcelona will be most welcome to contact me. More details will be available soon at:



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