Meet the Researchers


Barbara Bo-Ju Shih


Photo of Barbara Bo-Ju Shih

Research Area: Skin and photobiology

What is it like being a researcher?

It reminds me of being a kid watching ants under a magnifying glass, mixed in with a bunch of paper work. I really learned to appreciate how much, and how little, we know about the world around us.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

The book “The Selfish Gene” was the key influence that got me into the field of biology. Also, I wanted to make my mark on the world, as little or as big as it may be. I figured if I go into the field of research, my contribution would stay in the scientific literature and could directly, or indirectly, make an impact on the world.

What is the best thing about being a researcher/your job?

The best thing would have to be the variety of different things I get to be involved in, ranging from chatting to wonderful participants to investigating into fascinating questions. My day to day routine varies so much that I rarely feel bored doing the same thing.

If you could go back in time which scientist/researcher/historical figure would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

Einstein – “Did you or did you not donate your brain for research?”

What do you do in your free time?

I draw and play video games or board games.

What is the first ‘science’ you remember doing?

I remember I was at a science festival, where the demonstrator stuck a string into an ice cube using salt. I did not realise that was science; I thought it was a magic trick. Science did not get all that exciting, or even anything that resembles ‘research’ until when I started doing research projects in my Master’s course.

What discovery or invention could you not live without?

Glasses, I am absolutely blind without them.

What do you think is the most important thing yet to be discovered/invented?

It would probably be something that is beyond my imagination (and possibly theoretical physics based).