My name is Mariano Molina, and I am studying an M.Sc. program in Microbiology at Radboud University, the Netherlands. I was born in Santiago, Veraguas, Panama (Latin America), a small city in our little country but with great and kind people. I did my Bachelor’s in Medical Technology in Santiago. After graduation, I moved to Panama City, the capital city of Panama, where I worked for almost two years in stem cell and clinical laboratories.

Furthermore, I received a scholarship from the Government of Panama to study a master’s program abroad, and I started my M.Sc. in 2019. I love microbiology, especially virology, and this passion led me to my current degree in Europe. I am also a research intern at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, United States, where I am doing human papillomavirus (HPV) research for six months as part of my studies. My lab work includes cell cultures and doing molecular biology techniques such as RT-qPCR, cloning, western blot, and others.

During this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to create a blog where I can share my experience with people about microbiology and myself. Writing has helped me to stay focused and in good mental health.

I also feel good sharing my thoughts and my journey to these fantastic opportunities, which I hope can help motivate other people to study abroad or to become interested in microbes.

3 interesting facts about microbes 

  1. We can find microbes everywhere in our world, from the deep ocean to the inside of a volcano. Some of them can be harmful to humanity, such as the latest Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, some of them are useful to humans, and sometimes we depend on them. For instance, we depend on our gut microbiome, and there are bacterias that we use to produce medicines and others that clean our water waste.
  2. Thanks to microbes, we can breathe. Their lives started first in our world, and some bacteria called Cyanobacteria are well-known for being part of the great oxygenation event on our planet. This event changed our world and all the life forms.
  3. One of those types of microbes are viruses, my favorites to study. Many types of viruses are harmful to humans, but not all of them. They have evolved with us and have some characteristics that allow them to live inside us. For instance, the human papillomavirus (HPV) can infect our cells and insert their genome (DNA) into our cell’s genome (DNA), which help them to persist for years. There are more mechanisms involved in this process, but that is the idea. Fortunately, we have developed testing and prevention methods such as a vaccine, which help us to avoid infections and progression to cancer.

We can find in our world different types of microorganisms, such as bacterias, viruses, fungi, and archaea, and we have learned a lot about microbes thanks to microbiology. I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about them during my master’s program, continue with this high interest to virology, and apply to a Ph.D. program after my graduation.

Connect with Mariano

If you’d like to have your work featured on We Rep STEM, get in touch! We can be reached via email at