An image of Dr Ecaterina Ware on a boat

Dr Ecaterina Ware is a Research Facility Assistant in the Department. She has helped keep the Electron Mircosopy labs operational during the nationwide lockdown and has helped research staff and students access these facilities. 

Can you tell us more about what it has been like keeping the labs open during lockdown? 

This is a difficult question. COVID-19 was - and remains- extremely challenging. Our equipment is fundamentally ‘hand-on’. Optimally our Electron Microscopy Suite has many users and suddenly this unforeseen workplace hazard appeared. We minimize the risk through preventative measures such as: social distancing, disinfecting the instruments and surroundings after every use, doors always open for ventilation, only one user allowed in any room.

What was your proudest achievement this year? 

For me the best thing at work this year was the contribution I made to getting the EM suite up and running again after the first lockdown. My role has been central in securing the facility and delivering our services throughout a very disruptive time. My EM suite was chosen as a pilot lab and feel great satisfaction we could demonstrate how to get a lab up and running despite COVID-19. Meanwhile, I adopted two cats from a rescue centre. Tropicana and Poker were abandoned pets but now they have a forever home with me. The rescue centre is an amazing charity, and these cats are now safe, happy and well. 

What was your biggest challenge this year? 

I sailed across the English Channel to France and back, passing through the busy shipping traffic in my small sailing boat. Homeward bound, suddenly I saw an overloaded migrant boat in distress and had to call the Coast Guard. After helping to make sure everyone was safe, I eventually navigated – late - into the Port of Dover on a dark night. 

What does Women at Imperial week mean to you? 

Women at Imperial week should be a significant time for all women working at Imperial College. Women succeeding in science, engineering and technology are high achievers, by definition. We can celebrate our achievements together, and this is a time when we can hear each other’s voices