Vânia Helena Techio is a biologist and Ph.D. in Plant Genetics and Breeding. She began working at the University of Contestado in Concórdia, Santa Catarina State, and now She works at the Federal University of Lavras-UFLA, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Her research line is cytogenetics of forage grass applied to plant breeding. The studies have contributed to the cytomolecular characterization of accessions from germplasm banks, karyotyping, and genome relationships in hybrids and polyploids. She tweets mostly about her research on Twitter at @vhtechio

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes. I have two female cats, 21 and 19 years old

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a lot of plants, including a Nepenthes, an insectivorous plant

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Portuguese is my native language. I speak English a little bit, and I can do basic conversation in Italian.

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

I would be a writer or a bookstore owner

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

I can’t see myself outside biology, so I’d say Plant anatomy or Genetic Resources.

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

Singapore, because I never been there. But, I would also love to return to Cinque Terre, Italy.

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

I’d like to prolong the life of the people I love

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

I recommend watching “Gardeners’ World” and “The world from above.” Also, reading the book “Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea” by Carl Zimmer

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

Stay at home helping my husband while he’s cooking. We love listening to music and drinking red wine. Also, when possible, I visit my mother, brother, and sisters who live in another region of the country.

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

Chimarrão (Yerba mate drink), cell phone and my glasses

15 What beverage gives you life?

Chimarrão (Yerba mate drink) – that’s a typical drink from South of Brazil; Argentina and Uruguay

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

Books by Brazilian author Érico Veríssimo

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

Biology Professor

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I like to believe that I’m contributing to the education of young biologists and researchers

19 What got you excited in science?

Doubts and the search for answers

20 What excites you about science now?

The rapid expansion of knowledge and the opening of new research areas offered by new technologies

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Hmmm, there are many… but, my favorite is eating Brazilian barbecue with a glass of Argentinian Malbec every weekend

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I like gardening and I grow a variety of vegetables in a small organic garden

23 What is your favorite game?

A board game called “Imagem e Ação,” similar to Pictionary.

24 What is the last book you read?

The president is missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

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

If you understood something, you’ll always have additional doubts

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

Scuba diving

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

Start studying foreign languages

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Walk outdoors; read a book or watch a movie/documentary

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Grace and Frankie Series on Netflix.

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

Seed packets

31 What is your favorite animal?

Cats, small and big ones.

32 What is your favorite book?

The love story described in Marlena de Blasi’s book series in various regions of Italy, with all its sounds, landscapes, and flavors.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Pasta with mushrooms or Brazilian barbecue, both prepared by my husband

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The birthdays of my mom, dad, and husband.
I also love rainy days.

35 What is your favorite plant?

Ilex paraguariensis

36 What is your favorite science fact?

The findings of cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Freshly plants. I love the smell of rosemary, basil, sage, and Sicilian lemon

39 What is your favorite sound?

Rock band music like Scorpions

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m organized, and I like planning my personal and professional activities

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


42 What is your proudest moment?

Considering my conditions at the time, getting my Ph.D. was an important moment in my life. I am also proud to see the accomplishments of my students

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Araucaria angustifolia

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

It’s a very quiet and safe university town

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I have the odd habit of cover all my books with plastic

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

Pat Heslop-Harisson – @Pathh1 ;
Lorenzo Peruzzi – @PeruzziLorenzo;
Esteban Rios – @ForageBreeding