Meet Érika, our Research Associate
April 5, 2022
How did your background lead you to Better Origin?
I am a chemical ecologist and I study how multitrophic interactions are mediated at the molecular level. Since my PhD, I have been studying how the chemistry of plants affects the butterflies that feed on them and how this is perceived by the butterflies’ predators.
Last year, I joined Better Origin’s biology team and our main goal, in my opinion, is to understand how the different feed we use affects our maggots and consequently the chickens that are fed with them (as well as the microbes that live in their gut) – very multitrophic!
What’s one of your favourite things about working at Better Origin?
Does it have to be just one? I am not sure if my favourite thing is our team, or if it is our mission to make farming more environmentally sustainable and committed to animal welfare.
What are you most proud to be able to work on?
As an academic, I very rarely see the results of my work being translated into something that will directly benefit people in a short period of time.
I am very proud that the work we do is already making a difference in the world – we are helping supermarkets reduce their waste, farmers to move away from soya, animals to have a happier life.
What have you learned from your coworkers?
I have learned a lot about chickens and animal welfare, as well as circular economy and waste management. I also discovered a whole new world about how science is done at the industrial scale.
What inspires you?
The transformative power of science and education. I believe that knowledge empowers people to improve their lives and the world around them.
Are you working on any projects outside of work?
Another job at Cambridge University, where I work with butterflies 🦋. I am also a rep for the Equality & Diversity Committee and the Postdoc Committee. Improving the representation of political minorities in science and academia is very important to me.
What would you tell those wanting to get involved in this industry?
I would say that we are a data-driven industry committed to sustainability and welfare. We want to make the farming industry more ethical, more inclusive, and more environmentally friendly, thus we appreciate all help we can get to accomplish this mission.
We have a very ambitious and multidisciplinary goal, so we need a diverse and enthusiastic team!