Flora Vincent holds a PhD in marine microbiology from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. She is fascinated by marine microbes, the invisible majority that populates our oceans and plays a key role in our ecosystem, by producing oxygen, recycling carbon dioxide, and serving as the basis of the marine food chain. Most of these organisms do not live in isolation and are connected by numerous mechanisms: predation, symbiosis, parasitism, viral infection.
At the Weizmann Institute, Flora is working in the laboratory of Assaf Vardi on the marine phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi. The proliferation of these microalgae, which are responsible for massive blooms visible from space, is terminated by viral infection. Flora’s postdoctoral research focuses on resistant subpopulations that ultimately guaranty survival of this species, with the goal of understanding what governs the dynamics of viral infections at the single-cell level, and how heterogeneity contributes to this phytoplankton’s success.
Flora adds: “I’m also involved in outreach science. I believe it’s part of our responsibility as scientists to make citizens aware of what we’re doing, and why. I focus particularly on portraying science as it really is: a good deal of work with a good deal of excitement, accessible to boys and girls, driven by curiosity and targeted at explaining how the world works around us and how we can improve it.”