In the life of a scientist serendipity is as important as preparation and expertise. I became a microbiologist by serendipity: my admission advisor recommended it when I was dreaming about becoming a synthetic organic chemist. I came to the USA due to serendipity: a USDA researcher happened to read some of my early papers and invited me to join his project in 1988. And serendipity played a role how I became an LBNL employee: I saw an ad in the SF Chronicle at a time when I wanted to learn more about sequencing and the human genome project.
Carl Woese wrote in 2002: “Where there is life, there are microorganisms.” In this spirit I have had a fulfilling career as a microbiologist. Serendipity allowed me to work in extreme environments where Mother Nature was at her best. Privileged throughout my career, I have had wonderful and supportive mentors. They shaped me what I am today. Paying back, I have mentored and trained next generation microbiologists and immunologists for over three decades. And I have worked with outstanding scientists in the East and the West, some of whom became lifelong friends.