18 June 2021

Dr Monica Gerth is a Senior Lecturer in microbiology at Victoria University of Wellington.

​Where I’m from: Military bases around the world. I was born on a navy base in Pensacola, Florida (my dad was in the US Army, but he was stationed there for a few years). We moved to Germany when I was around 3, and kept moving. Wellington is my adopted hometown now.

Research subject: I’m a bit of a scientific magpie – I tend to collect projects. I’m interested in chemical signalling between microbes and their environment. This interest crosses over to lots of different areas. One current project is quite fundamental (funded by a Marsden grant): exploring how microbes use chemotaxis to navigate the phyllosphere. Our other main project is more applied: trying to develop better tools for controlling kauri dieback disease. I’m looking forward to building new projects and collaborations as part of Bioprotection Aotearoa.

What I like most about my research is: The freedom, the variety, and the people.

My biggest work achievement is: Every time one of my students graduates (and goes on to even bigger and better things!).

Outside of work I like to: It’s been a busy year – hobbies? In theory I like to run, read books, and cook. I also love tramping, but it’s been ages since our last trip.

Something my colleagues don’t know about me (yet) is: I started a running streak during lockdown last year. I was originally just going to do it for 30 days, but as of 7 June, I’ve run every day for the past 430 days (and counting!)

My social media accounts: You’ll find our lab on Twitter at @mme_lab_nz. Our lab website is: https://molecules-and-microbes.org/​