Patricia Sanchez Baracaldo's inspiration: Sarah Hake

Sarah Hake is a geneticist working on plant development in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. I met Sarah Hake when I was a graduate student at Berkeley, and she was teaching a course on plant genetics and developmental biology. I approached Sarah after the course had finished, because I was curious about the genes that might have been responsible for the atypical morphology of the high elevation ferns, I was studying for my PhD dissertation. I invited Sarah to the herbarium and showed her my ferns. Hardly anything was known about the genes that control morphological development in non-flowering plants. Sarah invited me to work in her lab for six months to explore these questions. We were so thrilled and enthusiastic about science. 

Sarah has been the most influential role model in my career. She is not only an amazing scientist, but she is probably one of the most positive people I have ever met. She infuses positivity and working in her lab was simply fun. Sarah was inclusive, considerate, and incredibly generous with her time and knowledge. She also attracted a group of strong and passionate women. My time in her lab was vibrant and I enjoyed myself to the fullest. Her lab became my second lab. Sarah is very human and an amazing mother. Sarah was able to balance an incredibly successful career in science and an amazing family. Sarah also has a farm, and is a passionate about the outdoors. 

About Dr Sanchez-Baracaldo

Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader in Microbiology at Bristol University. Her research interests include photosynthesis, biogeochemical cycles, climate change, microbial comparative genomics, and evolutionary biology. She did her PhD in plant evolutionary biology in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. As a postdoctoral researcher, Patricia worked on the molecular ecology of Cyanobacteria at Bristol University. She then had a career break of about five years and half to look after her young family and returned to science with a Daphne Jackson fellowship in 2011, and a Dorothy Hodgkin Royal Society Fellowships in 2012. In 2016, Patricia was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Patricia is currently a member of the Royal Society Diversity Committee and the chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee in the School of Geographical Sciences at Bristol University.