Text written by Nóra Lehotai and Milica Milivojevic. Picture: Milica Milivojevic, owned by Milica Milivojevic.
I had a chat with Milica, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the Sixt group. She is another true cosmopolitan scientist with Serbian-British dual nationality, who then studied in France and did a postdoc fellowship in New York, before arriving at Umeå in March 2021.
Can you tell us about your role at MIMS, what are you working on now?
As a postdoc in Barbara’s lab, I will be working on Chlamydia trachomatis infection. C. trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen that resides and replicates in a bacteria-containing vacuole called the inclusion. My project will be focused on studying the host-pathogen interaction at the inclusion membrane using proteomics and lipidomic approaches, in order to better understand this intriguing niche.
What were you doing before you joined MIMS and what attracted you to start a position here?
I have a background in cell and molecular biology with a particular interest in immunity and infection biology. My PhD project was focused on dissecting the signaling pathways that control the inflammatory response in epithelial cells during Shigella flexneri infection. After this I went on to do a postdoc at Columbia University, where I gained some experience in multi-omics approaches as well as data analysis. I was attracted to the project in Barbara’s group here at MIMS since it seemed like the perfect way to combine elements of both my PhD and postdoc with my interest for host-pathogen interactions. In addition, I was excited to move to another country and out of my geographical comfort zone.
How was it to start at a new workplace during the pandemic?
It hasn’t been the easiest of situations to navigate, from the move itself to the social side of things. Luckily, everyone in my group, and everyone that I have had the pleasure of meeting so far, has been very kind and welcoming. Whilst it has been great to have so many virtual seminars and meetings organized, I am looking forward to more in-person interactions and discussions, when the situation allows.
If you would not have your current profession, what do you think you would be doing?
It’s hard to say since I have always really enjoyed doing research in an academic setting. If I hadn’t gone down this route, I’d like to think that I’d still be in a science-related field, perhaps involved in some sort of science-outreach.
What do you do in your free time and what are you most enjoying in living in Umeå, Sweden?
Having spent most of my life in big cities, I am really enjoying being so close to nature here in Umeå. Trees, fresh air, stars…it makes a nice (and welcomed) change! I haven’t been here for very long but I am looking forward to the long summer days to do some exploring. I also hope to be able to make the most of the winter activities that Umeå has to offer, later on in the year.
Is there a little known/interesting fact about yourself?
I can speak English, Serbian and French (almost) fluently. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to add Swedish to the list!