15 September 2022

Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Issue 9

Have you ever wondered what a surgeon’s secret talent might be, or what karaoke song a neuroscientist would choose?

Our Zoom-In series shows you a side of the Champalimaud Foundation’s community you have never seen before…

Zoom-In on Champalimaud - 2nd Edition - Liad Hollender

Zoom-In on Champalimaud: Liad Hollender

I started working as a science communicator at CF in 2012, soon after completing a PhD in Neuroscience. "Science Communicator" may sound like a well-defined role, but actually, my position has changed a lot over the past decade. It started with producing the annual report, but then expanded into writing, producing videos, coordinating exhibits and more… I wonder how this position will continue to evolve, but alas, it will be my successor's job to shape it, as I am leaving CF for a new position at a scientific publisher. I guess this makes this zoom-in edition more of a zoom-out. :)

Q. Can you tell us about a memorable experience you had at the CCU?

One of my fondest memories is of my first photography project, which I organised for the 2011 annual report. At the time, there was no communications team, and most of the artistic work was done by volunteers from the community. For this project, I partnered with a talented photographer, Wieland Brendel, a former PhD student who is now a group leader in Germany. For the main visual feature of the report, we created a kind of an "item-scape" for each lab. We spread out a blank canvas on the floor of an empty office and invited labs to arrange items that captured their scientific and social culture. It was my first time working with the community, and it was so much fun. I got to know everyone and learned how enthusiastic and creative the research community is. The result is a spectacular collection that is still one of my favourites, 11 reports later. (link to photos).    

Q. What would you like to learn about? (preferably not work-related)

I would like to learn Arabic. I am originally from Israel, where, even though 20% of the population is Arab, most Israeli Jews don't speak Arabic. Growing up there, I didn't think about it; it was just how things were. But now, as an adult, I realise it's outrageous and a clear signal of Israel's attitude towards this part of the population. Ideally, Arabic classes should be an integral part of the school curriculum. But for now, I would just like to make sure that when I visit Israel, I can communicate with everyone. 

Q. What is the best thing about your job?

I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed many "bests". One of them is the creative freedom I was allowed. I was always given a free hand to start new projects, and never had trouble finding talented partners both within my team and the community at large. Another is the constant change. CR is a very dynamic place, it may get a bit crazy at times, but it's certainly never boring. Finally, the best of the best are, of course, the people. The people who make up the CR community are creative, warm, interesting and just a lot of fun. They are, by far, what I will miss the most. 


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