Doktorand frå OD held tale

Det har vore kreering i Aulaen til Universitetet. Frå Det odontologiske fakultet var det Ragnar Bjering og Gabriela Salvadori da Silva som fekk sine doktorgradar, og da Silva hadde æra av å halde tale på vegne av doktorandande.

Bilde av dekan, rektor og to studenter

Dekan Pål Barkvoll, Gabriela Salvadori da Silva , Ragnar Bjering og rektor Svein Stølen. Foto:Terje Heiestad.

Tala på vegne av doktorandande

Bilde av Gabriela som holder tale
Gabriela Salvadori da Silva hadde fått det ærefulle oppdraget om å holde doktorandens tale. Foto Terje Heistad

First, I have to say I feel extremely honored to stand here tonight and to address all of you on behalf of my colleagues.

We would like to thank the University of Oslo for the opportunity to pursue our PhDs in this great institution. On a personal note, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Faculty of Dentistry for the support and excellent work environment provided during these years. Having had the opportunity to take our PhDs in this University is something we will truly cherish forever.

On the first pages of our thesis, we have all taken the time to write a timeless and solitary page called Acknowledgements. Each and every one of us knows exactly what is in there. Our true recognition to our supervisors for their guidance, to our families, spouses, children and friends for their unconditional patience, support and love. This ceremony would have no reason other than to enable us to share this achievement with them.

Now I would like to tell you a short story. Some people that know me very well say I am a terrible storyteller, but I am working on it and I will try my best.

My name is Gabriela and I was born and raised in Brazil. I have always been encouraged to pursue education. When I was 17 years old, the world asked me the question: “So what do you want to study in College?”. I was actually terrified by it, and I didn’t have an answer right away. But I knew two things: I knew I liked to study biology and I knew I wanted to be able to help people on the course of my professional life. And among the options which included biology and helping people, I decided that I wanted to be a dentist. Right after my second semester in dental school, even before drilling the first tooth, I fell in love with research.  I was truly inspired by a number of extremely competent professors, some of which pursued their education abroad including this University.

By the time I graduated, I had realized that besides loving the clinical part of the profession, research could give me the chance to help even more people, in a more indirect way, and to have an impact in people’s lives.

So I packed most of the things I had in 3 bags of 32kg each and traveled far away from my comfort zone to take my PhD here. The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Oslo is recognized all over the world as one of the most important in the history of dental research. And that drove me to come here and learn as much as I could. The area I chose was oral microbiology, with the focus on natural transformation of bacteria. To put it a very simple way, it is the ability that some bacteria have to incorporate DNA available in the surroundings and acquire new characteristics that can provide them with some advantage in that particular environment. So we say they “transform”.

And thinking about what to say today, I realized that the core theme of my thesis actually provides me with the perfect analogy.  My years in Norway have transformed me. I acquired some new traits and learned much more that I can tell in this speech.

For one, I now own a rain coat and snow boots,

Two, I acquired the taste of chasing the sun instead of hiding from it.

And more importantly, I grew. I grew as an individual and I grew as a scientist. These years provided me with countless experiences and challenges that sharpened my sense of purpose in life and in my career.

I have had the chance to travel to many countries and continents, and I can surely say there is no place like Norway. Society and life in this country are unparalleled to any other in the world.

This was my story.

The truth is that we all got here through different paths and experienced this period in a different way. Regardless, we have all been transformed in a sense. We acquired and developed numerous skills, which we will carry along, like problem solving, critical reasoning, thinking in-depth and from different angles and perspectives.

Most of us, optimistically all of us, have chosen a field for which we have passion. Those work hours - as long and sometimes hard as they were - were also filled with enthusiasm, discovery, fellowship, joy, and were driven by our sense of purpose.

Some of us may wish to remain in academia; some of us may go to the public or private sectors. Some of us might even switch fields altogether and end up doing something completely different from our PhD areas.

No matter where we all are headed though, we should commit ourselves to use our voices.

A thesis does not a doctor make. What we do going forward does.

So I challenge you all to continue the great work that the many fields represented here have been known for. Our world needs people who inspire, people who are kind. People like those who inspired me and that perhaps inspired you too.

We have the blessing — and the responsibility — to use our knowledge to contribute to a better society.

My 17-year old self had absolutely no idea that the choices she made would eventually bring her here. But I am so glad she did. For the raincoat and snow boots, for the pride of graduating from this University and for now calling this country my home.


Colleagues, I wish you all the best for the future and thank you!


Gabriela Salvadori da Silva 


Av Astrid Skiftesvik Bjørkeng
Publisert 21. sep. 2018 13:56 - Sist endret 21. sep. 2018 13:56