Tribute: Claudina Rodrigues-Pousada (1940–2021)
A great scientist, an incomparable mentor, an unforgettable friend
Professor Claudina Rodrigues-Pousada, who died earlier this year, is most remembered at FEBS for her key role in the development of the popular FEBS Young Scientists’ Forum (YSF) for PhD students and postdocs in the molecular biosciences, held just ahead of the FEBS Congress.
The first FEBS YSF took place in 2001 when Claudina was the Chair of the 27th FEBS Congress in Lisbon, and in many later years, following her election to Chair of the FEBS Working Group on the Careers of Young Scientists (2005–2007 and 2011–2017), Claudina was responsible for overseeing the event and particularly the young local committee of scientists tasked with its organization (as highlighted in the Network post ‘Nurturing the FEBS Young Scientists' Forum’ when she stepped down from this role).
Writing these lines of reflection takes me (I.D-M.) back to the year 2011. In her FEBS Working Group position, Claudina set my colleague Dr Ricardo O. Louro and me on the adventure of organizing a memorable FEBS YSF in Cadiz (Spain) in 2012, together with IUBMB, the Spanish Biochemical and Molecular Biology Society (SEBBM) and the Portuguese Biochemical Society (SPB). Her invaluable support culminated in an extraordinary meeting, which those of us who participated in still remember with much affection but a certain wistfulness.
In 2018, I was handed the baton to replace Claudina after election to Chair of the FEBS Working Group on the Careers of Young Scientists. That was a great honour and, at the same time, a tremendous responsibility since Claudina had developed the YSF into a successful format as an informal and relaxed space in which young scientists share scientific knowledge and strengthen international alliances.
The FEBS YSF 2018 was chaired by Dr Vlastimil Kulda in the beautiful city of Prague (Czech Republic). Both Claudina and I guided Vlastimil and his team, who orchestrated a perfectly organized event that was a great success. Her active participation continued in the following FEBS YSF 2019 in Krakow (Poland), chaired by Dr Anna Jagusiak. There, Claudina gave a lecture entitled “Memories of Being Chair of YSF”, which was dedicated to past YSFs she had guided. This talk, along with her closeness and ability to connect with young people, was highly appreciated by the young attendees.
Following Claudina’s work, my main purpose in my role at FEBS has been keeping FEBS YSFs developing every year as a satellite activity closely linked to the FEBS Congress. Even in the pandemic situation we live in, the FEBS YSF 2021 will take place, despite being virtual.
We will be honouring her legacy at the FEBS YSF 2022, taking place in her home country of Portugal, with a named lecture.
Claudina Rodrigues-Pousada (1941–2021)