«I want to show that scientists are people like everyone else»

« Fisherwoman in the lab. » Taken by Kaan Mika, this photo is a winner of the SNSF’s 2020 Science Picture Competition in the category « Women and Men of Science ». This photo shows Norine Voisin’s genetic research using zebrafish.

Kaan Mika is a PhD student in Richard Benton’s group (“Centre intégratif de génomique”, Faculty of Biology and Medicine) and is passionate about scientific communication. For his first participation in the SNSF competition for scientific images, this researcher won the prize in the « Women and Men of Science » category. « A category that seems to have been created for me, » says the author, who is pleased to have won a prize awarded by a jury of professional photographers. « Indeed, I want to show that scientists are people like any other, accessible. »

The informal aspect of the image and the absence of the traditional white coat are therefore intentional. « I asked Norine Voisin to wear colourful clothes. As she is a sociable person, also very interested in and gifted for scientific mediation, the shoot was a nice moment, » recalls Kaan Mika, an amateur photographer. The two researchers, who are friends, were working on the same floor of the Genopode, which houses the UNIL’s « Centre intégratif de génomique » in Dorigny.

The winning image is part of a series, visible on Kaan Mika’s instagram account, @slice_of_science. It shows Norine Voisin, in her work environment, caring for « her » zebrafish, the animals necessary for her work in the area of the genetic causes of intellectual disability. The researcher, who no longer works at UNIL today, defended her thesis in August 2019 (summary of her work).

« Following the announcement of the award, I received many messages. People have pointed out that we now need good news. And this is fantastic news for me! » concludes Kaan Mika.

Images of Norine Voisin’s research on Kaan Mika’s instagram account

An article about Kaan Mika’s instagram account and her activity as a genetic researcher at UNIL