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Q and A with Dr Gonzalez Cruz

Tuesday 09 March 2021

Behind the microscope - Dr Jazmina Gonzalez Cruz

Dr Jazmina Gonzalez-Cruz

Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Spain in a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife. Funny fact, the neighbourhood close to New Farm called Teneriffe was named after my island. So apparently, we are quite the travellers.

Do you work in a clinical or research setting? And what made you want to get into the work you do?

I work in research setting.

I would like to say I wanted to save people or the world, but I learnt that we could do that much later. My favourite subjects were always the physiologies, those that where answering not what but HOW. And I understood that I wanted to be part of those who discover the how, because the answer of that question is so powerful that allows us to manipulate the "what". Over the years, I learnt the big impact that our research could have on our society, either bringing new knowledge or even technologies/treatments which directly shapes the course of our world. And over the time, I became all I wanted to be as a child: a teacher to my students; a healer to those who might benefit from the new immunotherapies we design; and a scientist, in a lab full of reagents always testing new ideas.

Dr Cruz alongside her colleague and research project team member, Pof Ben Panizza

Outside of work what do you like to do? Any hobbies, sports or special interests you're involved in?

Outside the lab, I like to be surrounded by non-Scientist. I find refreshing knowing about other kinds of lives which are so different from mine. With my friends and partner, I like to go hiking or to the beach, camping… basically any kind of thing you can do outdoors. We are so lucky to live in Australia!

I spend quite a lot of time working with Precious Paws animal rescue. Four years ago I adopted my recued dog, and now we foster and train dogs in need until they find a new family that gives them that well deserved second chance.

I also volunteer for Australia Cervical Cancer Foundation raising awareness about treatment and prevention of this disease.

If you had to recommend one book to read what would it be?

My favourite book is called "John Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach. The first time I read it I was I high-school. It was one of those recommended books you must read, and I just felt in love with the simplicity of the story and the depth of the message behind it. I have read it so many times I cannot count them anymore. And every time, I see something different that relates with my current live. Without disclosing much, I would say that John Livingston Seagull encourages you to follow your curiosity, to grow with challenges and teaches you that the path to knowledge can be very lonely unless you understand that knowledge needs to be shared and we all have the capacity to teach others something valuable.

Who is your favourite musician/or band?

This is a difficult one, since I do not have one favourite or band. I guess I like different types of music and I listen to them depending on my mood: lifting the spirit to clean the house, let's play the Beatles; writing grants, look for inspiration in Chopin; road trip, Imagine Dragons.

If you could invite three people to a dinner party, anyone in the world, who would they be and why?

Sorry, I do not have world-renown names for you, thought that doesn't make these people less important to me.

My mum, my aunt and my sister.

My mum, because I have the most generous and creative mother in the world, and I know how much she misses me.

My aunt, because during the pandemic she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I haven't had the chance to give her the warmest of the hugs to tell her how much I love her, and I wish for her health to be back soon.

My sister, and if I am allowed my little nephew and niece, whom I do not have the joy to know in person since my flights got cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.