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Alienor B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)


microbiology, environmental microbiology, host-pathogen interactions, cell biology, genetics, how microbes affect climate change, astrobiology


Hi there! My name is Alienor, and I'm a Ph.D. candidate in microbiology at UC Berkeley! In the lab, I study single celled microbes called archaea. They're similar to bacteria in terms of shape and size and the ecosystems they inhabit, but biochemically they're very different. The particular archaea that I study are called methanogens, because they make methane gas as they grow. In fact, you might have heard about how the dairy industry is bad for climate change- that's because inside of cows live millions upon millions of methanogens, creating the methane that is going into our atmosphere and resulting in global warming! My research aims to learn more about how these methanogens grow and organize their cells. By studying this, we can learn about how these critical contributors to the carbon cycle! Outside of the lab, I love being outside. I go hiking, camping, and mushroom foraging. I also love gardening, playing with my cats, and making historical costumes based on my favorite period drama TV shows.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Write a scientific review!

Scientists often write "scientific reviews" about an area of interest for them. A scientific review is a type of research paper that asks a broader scientific question, like "how can microbes be used to mitigate climate change?" or "how does malaria affect the immune systems of pregnant women and their babies?". To answer these questions, scientists read through recent published experimental findings that pertain to their question, and then they write a research paper that summarizes all those findings. If you choose to write a scientific review, you will read between 10-20+ articles on a topic of interest, build an annotated bibliography describing the main points of each article, and then write a paper that clearly summarizes the main ideas you found in the scientific literature. Scientific reviews are extremely valuable resources for other scientists; by doing this project, you will contribute to scientific discussion in your field of interest, you will hone your scientific communication skills, and you will learn best practices for scientific writing. You will also come away from this project with a strong understanding of how to use publicly available literature databases to do your research!

Make a publication-quality infographic!

Science and art go hand in hand! Indeed, when scientists want to communicate their results to the public, they often choose to use infographics; or, illustrations that convey high-quality scientific information. In this project, you will learn to create your own infographics. You will first ask a scientific question, such as "what types of microbes live at the bottom of the ocean?". Then, you'll read between 6 and 10 research articles about that question, summarizing your findings. Next, you will design an illustration that conveys your findings to an audience of your choice; for example, visitors to a museum exhibit, readers of a scientific magazine, or even visitors to your blog page. You'll use graphic design techniques to create a high quality image that accurately conveys a scientific message to the public. In this project, you'll gain proficiency in reading academic papers, summarizing scientific findings, and communicating those findings to a public audience. You'll think about how to best engage the general public and get them interested in scientific ideas that you think are cool. You'll also get to flex your graphic design muscles and use art programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, Canva, or Procreate to design a cool piece of science art. If you love science, but are also inclined towards drawing, painting, or graphic design, this would be a great project for you!

Languages I know

Hungarian- beginner

Teaching experience

I have pretty extensive teaching and mentoring experience. In 2017, I worked as a writing tutor in the Student Learning Center here at Berkeley, where I tutored undergraduate students as well as received thorough pedagogical training. Then, in 2018 I served as a course reader/grader. In 2022, I worked as a Graduate Student Instructor teaching fungal biology to undergraduate students. In addition, since 2020, I have served as a mentor for students applying to graduate school, guiding them through writing essays and preparing their applications. I have also, since 2021, served as a peer mentor for new graduate students in my program. Finally, I am mentoring an undergraduate researcher in my lab, helping her develop her own research project.


Work experience

UC Berkeley (2020 - Current)
Graduate Student Researcher
UC Berkeley (2022 - 2022)
Graduate Student instructor
UC Berkeley (2019 - 2020)
Research Associate
UC San Francisco (2018 - 2019)
Research Associate


University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2018)
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Microbial genetics and cell biology

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