From my childhood, I remember the smell of books. The shelves full of novels at my grandmother’s house, the aroma of old pages in the reading room of my primary school during winter. I like to think of my life as a series of libraries. From the surreal verticality of Biblioteca Vasoncelos, with its whale skeleton hanging from the roof, to the Maori carvings of Auckland University Library. When I think of it that way, perhaps it is not surprising that, after pursuing a degree in biotechnology in Mexico City, I ended up studying immunogenomics. Picture, for instance, Alice through the looking glass. “Here it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”, said the Red Queen. When I read this quote, I think of the immune system. How fast must it run to keep our place in a world ruled by microbes? But the immune system does not run, it plans ahead and divides tasks. It is a community of cells that talk to each other. During my PhD in at The Sanger Institute, Cambridge I will study the immune system, using transcriptomics to link gene expression and cellular functions to genetic variation across individuals. Because I firmly believe in the transforming power of knowledge, when out of the lab I like teaching, and promoting art and science. Languages and music are my biggest passions. Monet, my favourite painter. And my dearest dream, to someday have a positive impact in Latin American society. As a Nahuatl poet once put it, “all that is true has a root”. And, to me, the desire to improve our world will always be the root from which everything else stems.