Crystal Turnbull

By Janne Karin Brodin

Crystal Turnbull
Crystal TurnbullPhoto: Isabella Hutchison

Current position: PhD student at NMBU
Master in Plant Sciences

Can you tell us about your current job?

I am currently employed as a PhD student in the Plant Biology and Biotechnology group at NMBU. My work is primarily lab-based molecular biology, working with the plant fungus, Botrytis cinerea. We are investigating why and how this pathogen is able to tolerate UV light, which is proposed as a non-fungicidal option to control the pathogen in agriculture. Doing a PhD is my dream job for the simple reason that my job is to learn, which I love doing. Even more exciting is that my work contributes to eliminating the need for fungicides for more sustainable farming.

What was the path like from high school to the job you have today?

My path from high school has been pretty varied as I have so many interests. I started my academic career with a bachelor's in molecular biology and a master's in law. I practiced law for some years before moving to Norway and continuing my master's in plant biotechnology. Studying both science and law is quite unique. It enabled me to understand the worldwide debate on CRISPR-edited products and how we should regulate these products. With the subjects I took during my master's at NMBU and my brilliant thesis supervisors, I was able to contribute to a very hot topic, which is probably one of the reasons I was hired as a PhD student.

What can you say about the student environment at NMBU?

I have been fortunate to attend multiple universities and have had different experiences at each institution. Attending NMBU has by far been the most supportive, engaging academic experience I have had. The lecturers and staff treat you as an equal, not as 'just another student'. Your academic success is completely up to you and is incredibly flexible too. Yes, there are mandatory subjects for your study specialisation but the flexibility outside of that is so diverse.

 Do you have any advice to future students?

It might sound repetitive but my advice is to do your very best to get good grades. Your grades and other successes and involvements at university are the first things that potential employers see. Also, use the flexibility and range of courses that NMBU offers to your advantage. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to carve out a unique career path.

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