Women in Science Day 2021
To raise awareness of women in the field of science, HHT Germany interviewed Dr Trovato, Medizinische Poliklinik, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, recently about her work and her connections with HHT patients.
Question 1: What triggered your passion for science?
As a student I had the chance to work for two years in a Basic science laboratory at the University of Michigan.
In this period, I learnt and appreciated what science is and how it is correctly done, and since then I have been continuously involved in science.
Question 2: How did you develop an interest in HHT?
In the clinic where I work (Medizinische Poliklinik, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) I came into contact with a number of patients with HHT (Morbus Osler) and their family members. The fact that HHT is an autosomal dominant disorder that does not follow the traditional rules of genetic diseases (no clear genotype-phenotype correlation, clinical variability, age-related penetrance) caught my attention. The more I learned about the disease, the more I got interested.
Question 3: How does your work impact the lives of patients with HHT?
Patients with HHT have difficulties finding a doctor who is well informed and competent about their disease. They run from the otolaryngologist to the pulmonologist, from the cardiologist to the gastroenterologist, but one doctor often does not know what the other is doing. In our clinic we are trying to create a network of experts for HHT, which can take care of these patients in almost every aspect of their disease.
Question 4: What struggles does a woman involved in science have to face?
A lot of progress in gender equality in science has been done in the past decade. Still women are underrepresented and disadvantaged compared to men.
Combining work, science and family is challenging and most women have to make a choice among these.
Question 5: What message would you like to give to young girls interested in becoming scientists?
Conditions for women in science are improving continuously, even though not at the pace I would like. A lot depends on us, so we need to actively push for a change in the society.
Do not let yourselves intimidate or discourage; try to follow the plans you have set for yourselves!
In conclusion, I would like to say many thanks to the Charité and in particular to my Clinic Director, Fr. Dr. Prof. Dörffel, for enabling me to pursue clinical work and independent research at the same time.