Juliana Gonzalez-Tobon outside. Photo provided by Juliana Gonzalez-Tobon
Juliana Gonzalez-Tobon outside. Photo provided by Juliana Gonzalez-Tobon

Juliana González-Tobón is a plant pathologist currently doing her Ph.D. at Cornell University! She studies bacteria that get plants sick, mostly potatoes. She wants to understand how they interact with their hosts at a molecular level. Juliana is very interested in science communication and creating a community in academia. She has her own social media project on how to be our best version (IG: @our.bestversion TW: @ourbestversion) and is part of the collective womeninagscience.org. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her cats (who actually have an IG page! @les_anime_chats).

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes, two beautiful cats we adopted about two years ago!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I do have a desk at home decorated with science-related things!

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I’m a native speaker of Spanish, have spoken English since I was a kid and I know a bit of French!

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I’d be a writer

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

I would switch to another host but definitely something related to pathogens!

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

If we were not facing a global pandemic, I’d say Paris!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

To fly

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

I would love it if you check out my social media page, Our Best Version! I created it because I was getting to much negativity from my academic-related social media accounts and thought I had to contribute to make that better. IG: our.bestversion TW: ourbestversion

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Spend time with my husband and my cats at home!

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Music, notebooks, desserts

15 What beverage gives you life?

Used to be coffee, transitioning to tea.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Letters to a Young Scientist – Edward O. Wilson

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid I wanted to be a cashier.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

As a person, as a scientist, and as part of a couple, I have a lot of dreams. Wanting to fulfill them keeps me going!

19 What got you excited in science?

I wanted to solve problems that could help the world and the people I care about most.

20 What excites you about science now?

That feeling that you are actually accomplishing something new and useful.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Chick flicks

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can fall asleep anywhere.

23 What is your favorite game?

I’m really enjoying Animal Crossing right now! But I love Catan.

24 What is the last book you read?

Non-science related: Marie Kondo’s “Life-changing magic of tidying up”

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

It is okay to be afraid, what’s important is to have more courage than fear. – My mom

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Ride in a racing car

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

It will all work out if you keep believing.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Exercise! and chilling at home

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Disney’s Onward

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Two grafted baby tomato plants

31 What is your favorite animal?

I love cats but I will say otters

32 What is your favorite book?

The Epigenetics Revolution – Nessa Carey

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

I love my birthday

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

When the Human Genome Project was being developed, scientists believed almost blindly that it would be the answer to every disease and every condition. When it did, they understood that there was a whole other genome they needed to unravel to be closer to those solutions, the epigenome.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Baked goods

39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I always try to give my best

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

When I said yes to marry my husband (wedding was almost exactly one year ago)!

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Cherry tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

I am getting to experience the seasons! We don’t have them in my home country, Colombia.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

Colombia’s national sport (called Tejo) is sort of like cornhole, but when you score a small explosion occurs. My american friends had trouble believing this.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Carolina Mazo (@caromazomolina)
Morgan Carter (@plantpathsecret)
Paula Angel (@paula.angelr)
Tori Hoyle (@torijhoyle)