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What goes around comes around

Faksawat Poohphajai, assistant researcher at InnoRenew CoE; main area of research: wood modification


  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I was born and brought up in a small village in the countryside of Kalasin Province, located in northeast Thailand. I moved from Thailand to Sweden five years ago, and Sweden had become my homeland since then. Now I live in Finland, the land of a thousand lakes and neighbour to Sweden. In my opinion, Sweden and Finland are similar, so it is not difficult for me to feel like home here.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (Forest Products) from Kasetsart University in Thailand and completed a Master of Science in Wood Technology from Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. The motivation for the decision was my fascination of wood material.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

As an assistant researcher in the Wood Modification group and a PhD student in wood technology, my work is to conduct research to develop new, effective, environmentally friendly and sustainable biomaterials for wood modification.  My PhD research topic is “Biofilm for wood protection”. The objective is to study the interaction of a biofilm that is built up by a species of mould Aureobasidium pullulans, with wood materials and its mode of actions in protecting the wood substrate from environmental conditions.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

I start my working day by checking emails, doing the urgent assignments and working in the laboratory. If there is nothing specific on my to-do lists of the day, I always sit at the computer and learn something new in the field of my research project.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

I have a great job. It allows me to work with what I love and have the possibility to combine my mycological passion with my interest in wood material into different research projects.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge at my work is that I may need to work hard to improve my technical skills to be able to reach the goal of my research projects.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

I do have a lot of admiration for all of the scientists and their achievements. Researchers and scientists around the world work tirelessly in their respective fields to bring us new knowledge.

It is worthwhile to applaud their tremendous efforts (all of them).

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

Winnie-the-Pooh is my most favourite book! “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” from Winnie the Pooh, is my favourite quote ever.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

The Forensic Files. The American TV program that shows how forensic science can help in solving crimes. All the evidence is there, we just need to find the way to discover it.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

My first day in Slovenia was the24th of April 2019. On the bus from Ljubljana to Koper, I was deeply impressed by the beautiful scenery, mountains, green forest and lovely houses. I arrived in Koper in the afternoon and the weather was so nice. I took a walk along the coastline to the city. Everything was absolutely amazing and beautiful – I love all those old buildings in pastel colours and the small boats in the blue sea under the blue sky. I like Koper and look forward to coming back.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

Although I had the possibility to stay in Koper for only three weeks, I can say that I have had a very great time there. I love Slovenian people; in my view, they are not so talkative but very nice and kind. Indeed, when you are away from home your family is what that you miss the most.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

To be honest, during my three weeks in Slovenia, I have never been anywhere else except Koper. Therefore, Koper is my most favourite place. It is a beautiful coastal city. I could spend the whole day walking along the coastline, sightseeing, walking along the narrow streets between the old buildings, small shops and restaurants in Koper.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Nature, earth, rivers, mountains, trees and fungi! Being in nature gives me an incredible inspiration for things I would like to do.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

I believe in “Karma”. What goes around comes around; if you planted a mango tree, you will get mango fruits never an apple.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

As a human being, I love the scent of wood as well as its texture and colour. Wooden surfaces make a room feel warmer and cosier. It makes me feel safe, relaxed and close to nature. As a wood technologist, wood is a sustainable, renewable, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly material. Wood is unique and at the same time complex. Every species of wood has its own special characteristics.