Ali Tafazoli Yazdi, a Master’s student of Biotechnology, is starting the new academic year with a thesis at the Microbiology lab. He is excited to finally get his hands on some practical experience, a chance he never had back home in Iran.
Throughout his biology education, Ali became more and more eager about the prospect of doing scientific projects in the lab. ‘I was constantly hearing about research and high-tech experiments that people were performing, but never got the opportunity to actually do it myself.’
Ali grew up in Iran, where he also did his Bachelor’s. ‘A Bachelor’s thesis wasn’t part of the curriculum, but even if it was, it’s very hard for Iranian universities to gather the proper research equipment’, Ali explains. Because most materials come from abroad, US sanctions affect their accessibility and price dramatically. Iran is currently under huge economic pressure, so universities have limited financial resources. ‘Even if you do get access to the materials needed, they’re most probably too expensive.’ For Ali, Wageningen is therefore a research paradise. ‘Money and equipment seem to be limitless here.’
The project that Ali will work on is a risky endeavor, as the team is starting from zero without any assurance that they’ll succeed. Luckily, he describes himself as a risk-taker, so this feels like a perfect fit. ‘It’s a fundamental part of me’, he exclaims. As a teenager, Ali already had the ambition to do great things and improve the world. Even though everyone kept telling him to limit his expectations and be satisfied with a simpler life, he never grew out of that phase. Just like his role models, he’s willing to take risks to achieve his dreams. ‘Elon Musk risked everything. Everyone knows him now, but at one point he didn’t even have enough money to pay the rent,’ Ali grins. ‘Before you accomplish something, you will probably fail 1000 times. But the 1001st time you might succeed and win the Nobel Prize.’