Six questions to Alga Zuccaro


Question 1

What fascinates you most about natural sciences?

How things eventually connect to each other and how pervasive this is in the living world on a small (e.g. protein-ligand interactions), medium (plant-microbe interactions) as well as on a large scale. Perhaps all living units should be considered as part of one biological entity, one large functioning ecosystem with planet earth as the skeleton. Studying the mechanisms behind these interconnections is most rewarding.

Question 2

What is your favorite plant and why?

Most plant species are important to their ecosystem. Investigating different plant species helps to understand commonalities and differences. This keeps your mind open and helps to avoid generalization and building boxes which are very difficult to break once there.

Question 3

Which incident from your life as a researcher has remained in your memory the most?

This is a tough one. I think people affected my life as a researcher more than a specific incident and I was lucky, I have met several fascinating and inspiring people!

Question 4

What advice would you give to young scientists?

There is a powerful force in every one of us which is filled with excellent instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. My strongest advice is to reconnect with this instinctual nature and to learn how to listen to it! Through our interactions with others and with the world we often lose our ability to connect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Your instincts, if coming from deep inside, will always lead you to make the right decision. Resilience in science is one of the most powerful features we may have in hand to overcome obstacles and keep going. There are no drawbacks in science, just experiments that prove your theory right or wrong. The best experiments are those designed to prove you wrong, they often lead to the truth, or at least one version of it!

Question 5

If you had the choice, which research question would you like to be able to answer?

Honestly, I would like to know why we are here, but taken into account the fact that I will not be able to find an answer to this question for the time being I would be happy to understand how host cell death is implicated and tightly regulated in microbial accommodation.

Question 6

What's your favorite thing to do after work?

If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have said sport (any kind, including biking my motorcycle)….now I must admit that cooking good food in a cozy atmosphere after a long working day is more attractive to me! Sailing my boat in the summer break is still the best way for me to relax and helps me regenerate my body and soul!

"I have met several fascinating and inspiring people in my life, one of them was my father, Tiziano Zuccaro." (Alga Zuccaro)



Alga Zuccaro


Principal Investigator, Institute for Plant Sciences, Cologne Biocenter,
University of Cologne

In CEPLAS since:


Place of birth: