How Molecular Ecologists Work: Tatiana Giraud is all about the paper (agendas/lists)

Welcome to “How Molecular Ecologists Work”, the interview series that asks scientists how they get stuff done.

This week’s interview is from Dr. Tatiana Giraud. Tatiana and her group focus on the wide world of fungi, asking questions about their evolution, speciation, and relationship with humans.

Location: Orsay, France

Current Position: CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) scientist

Current mobile device(s): LG G3

Current computer(s): Dell Optiplex 755 and HP EliteBook 820

What kind of research do you?

I am studying diverse aspects of ecology and evolution using fungi as models: diversification (domestication of cheese and salami fungi and speciation of host-specialized pathogens), mating-systems and mating-type chromosomes, biological invasions, cooperation and competition, and the genomics of adaptation.

Can you use one word to describe the way you work?


What specific strategies do you recommend for running (or establishing) a lab?

Work on what you love and love what you’re working on; work with people who make you enjoy working; prioritize the tasks on which other people depend on (especially students and post-docs); start preparing grants, papers, reviews, courses etc long before deadlines to have enough time to do the best you can; don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it; say no to all meetings or tasks that are not really important for at least one colleague you care about; identify strengths in people and make them have their best use of them.

What apps/software/language/tools can’t you work without (Python, Dropbox, Geneious, etc.)?

Thunderbird and JMP

Where do you work with data (personal computer, lab computers, cluster, etc.)?

Personal computer

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

Paper agenda and paper to-do lists

What part of your job do you spend the most time on in a week?

Answering emails and writing

What part do you wish you had more time for?

Reading papers

What is your best time-saving shortcut/lifehack?

Paper agenda and paper to-do lists

How do you stay organized (to-do lists, digital reminders, etc.)?

Paper agenda and paper to-do lists (several of them, sorted by order of urgency/importance and regularly updated)

What do you listen to while you’re working (music, kids yelling, the hum of a supercomputer)?

As little noise as possible

What do you do to recharge outside of science?

Family time, swimming, binge series watching with my husband

What are you currently reading?

Paper agenda and paper to-do lists

What is your sleep routine like?


Fill in the blank: I’d like to see _______ answer these questions.

My students

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

You’re not good enough to work on animals, work on fungi instead

Thanks Tatiana! Next week: Dr. Craig Primmer from the University of Helsinki!

About Rob Denton

I'm an Assistant Professor in the Division of Science and Math at the University of Minnesota Morris. I'm most interested in understanding the evolutionary/ecological consequences of strange reproduction in salamanders (unisexual Ambystoma). Topics I'm likely to write about: population and landscape genetics, mitonuclear interactions, polyploidy, and reptiles/amphibians.
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