Anamica Bedi de Silva


Anamica Bedi de Silva

PhD Candidate, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Oceanography


Honolulu, HI, USA




Contact Information

Twitter: twitter.com/MorenaCientista

Instagram:instagram.com/MorenaCientista



Member Bio

Anamica is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Oceanography. She is a marine viral ecologist who studies viral resistance in marine protists. She is an ARC Scholar and member of several professional societies including the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME).



How did you get started on your career path?

My earliest memories are of exploring all the plants and creatures in my backyard. On top of that, I benefited from a multi-generational household where I had elders who were willing to encourage my curiosity. This curiosity followed me to school, where I was so blown away to learn about the complex and microscopic process that were happening the living cells around me. The official start of my career in microbial ecology was an independent study project I did while I was studying in my mother’s home country of Brazil. A professor at the Federal University of Parà took me under his wing and taught me about cyanobacteria population dynamics. Over a decade later and I am still studying the ways in which phytoplankton communities are shaped.



What is one thing you wish you would have known when you were getting started in your STEM journey?

Everybody makes mistakes. Seriously. Everyone. The scientist you most admire has struggled in many of the same ways that you have. More surprisingly, you are actually the person with the most expertise on your topic. Because of that, people really want to learn from you.



What is one piece of advice you would give to Black/BIPOC women who are interested in STEM careers?

Everybody makes mistakes. Seriously. Everyone. The scientist you most admire has struggled in many of the same ways that you have. More surprisingly, you are actually the person with the most expertise on your topic. Because of that, people really want to learn from you.


What current projects and initiatives are you working on?

I study marine viral ecology. My current research looks at how obtaining immunity to viral infection can shape phytoplankton communities. In other words, I want to know if there is a fitness cost associated with resistance to viral infection among marine protists. I have earned several awards for this project, including and ARCS Scholarship. The award I am most proud of, however, is “Best Graduate Presentation” at my institution’s student-lead life science conference, the University of Hawai‘i’s Tester Memorial Symposium. My fellow students and an invited scientist voted for me to receive this award. It makes me feel great that I was able to communicate my science effectively enough to win over my colleagues and mentors.


What do oceanographers do?

A lot of folks picture an oceanographer as someone who trains dolphins. Sadly, my life is fairly dolphin-free. Oceanography is a multi-disciplinary field that includes physicists, chemists, geologists, and biologists. Our research is extremely diverse. For example, I study microbes by culturing them in a laboratory. My close friend and colleague studies whale bones on deep sea floors by living on a research ship. Other oceanographers sit at computers and model how waves form or how iron reaches desolate reaches of ocean gyres. All of us, no matter what the research, have to learn the basics of each other's fields, as biology is connected to chemistry which is ruled by physics. Oceanography is great for those who want to study a bit of everything.