19 October 2021 – Ecologist Dominika Chmolowska was studying how the translocation of meadows affects their soil ecosystems, when she heard leading Estonian ecologist Leho Tedersoo from the University of Tartu speak at a conference. “I liked his novel methodology, so I asked if I could visit his lab to learn about it,” she says. He agreed, and an EMBO Scientific Exchange Grant turned out to be the solution to fund the visit. After spending a month in Estonia sequencing the soil metagenome, she was able to establish a permanent collaboration through a national bilateral scheme.
Now Chmolowska visits the group once a year to prepare samples and they regularly discuss data analysis. She has also visited other European labs on short-term fellowships, and believes they can be very beneficial for a career. “One month in Estonia was like a year in Poland!” she says. “I saw so much progress in myself and my work in such a short space of time. Especially if you can’t be away from home for long, it can be well worth it.” Of Estonia itself she says it is a mix of cultural experiences. “From historical buildings, to the very modern. Estonia has a mixture of everything!”