Nataša Knap is the scientific liaison of the EVA UL partner (and rather a downward dog one...take the quiz!); gets the job done without unnecessary stress!
Nataša has been around ever since the first EVA project started in 2009. A microbiologist by training, Nataša started work as a researcher on the EVA project, while doing her PhD on the biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic factors impacting on the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis in Slovenia (Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana).
As a researcher, she is currently involved in projects related to the ecology of zoonotic viruses, the epidemiology and molecular aspects of viral zoonoses, and host-pathogen-natural reservoir interactions. An important aspect of her work involves the introduction and evaluation of methods for the timely detection and control of emerging and re-emerging microorganisms. In the meantime, Nataša also juggles giving lectures in the undergraduate Microbiology course and managing EVA, among other EU-funded projects.
Rapid-fire questions to Nataša!
What did you study?
Microbiology. I was always interested in viruses and bacteria and this seemed like a perfect fit for me and it was.
What is your favourite virus?
Probably tick-borne encephalitis virus. And after 15 year of working with the virus, I still have so many questions!
Something interesting you read recently (science or not)?
Good omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I love fantasy books and the victory of good over evil..!
Something unexpected/unusual you did recently?
After the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the return to normality is very enjoyable. Work on other viruses is returning to previous levels, fieldwork has resumed and normal working hours are great!
What brought you to virology /your current role/EVA?
I have been employed on research projects in our laboratory since the beginning of my work at the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology. I am therefore involved with European Virus Archive projects right from the first instalment, back in 2009. Since then, I have been involved in research activities within the project, worked on quality management and have been the liaison for access activities for the requests to our research group.
What do you like /find interesting in the institute /project you work in?
Working on zoonoses is never boring, and there are always new things to study and new projects to work on. Every answer opens up several new questions.
Text by Semeli Platsaki, PhD