A brief story of my way in Science

I could start to tell you how interested I always was in Biology and that all the cool things you learn already in school stimulated me to turn to science. Now, this is not really the truth. It was rather the opposite. I found Biology in school always a bit to boring and was not really interested in ants and conifers. In the 10th grade I had a "not so good" teacher and actually this shaped my plan to turn to Biology. I wanted to know what else is there, besides the stuff you do in school. Biology should be much cooler than this. So I decided to do Biology and Chemistry during my finals years in school and had in mind to study Biology.

But as already said before, I were never into plants and learning genealogy, and I knew that I would have to do this during my upcoming studies. So I looked around for other possibilities, to avaid learning animal kingdoms, and discovered that I could study Biochemisty directly! In 2004 I went to the University of Bayreuth in northern Bavaria, Germany, and never regreded my choise. It was exactly what I wanted to do: get knowledge on the innermost processes, the molecular principles of life.

Also the best years have to come to an end my time in Bayreuth was over. For my Diploma thesis in 2008 (today you would call it propably a Master thesis) I went to Munich and joined a group at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. I would have probably never done this step on my own, but a groupleader at this time in Bayreuth in the department of Genetics was very convincing. He himself did not have space for me in his group, but offered me the possibility to go to Munich and to my thesis there. And once again, I never felt sorry to do this. At the MPI I learned a lot about cell cycle control and had my first hands on experience with the African Clawed Frog Xenopus Laevis. I worked on female meiosis and how oocytes reduce their chromosome number. All parts were essential for my further way.

After the practical work of my Diploma thesis and my time in munich, I went for a short time back to Bayreuth to finish the writing part and to look for possibilities what I could do next. At this point it was no question that I wanted to pursue a PhD degree. On one side, because it is not easy to find a job in the Bioscience without one (I know, some people will propably argue about this). And on the other hand, I really wanted to. I felt that it was the right thing to do. I thought about what do I know (practical and intellectual) and what can I do with this? Luckily the supervisor of my Diploma thesis offered me to go to small meeting and here I met my future PhD supervisor for the first time. I contacted him again after I had finished my thesis and he was willing to offer me a position in his group in Konstanz, Germany, where I could do my PhD. I started with this in 2009.

I guess, everyone knows this, but a PhD in Biology (and probably in most other fields) is really a lot of hard work. You do not only write for your thesis, in fact this is the shortest part at all, but you mostly work very tedious hours in the lab. The most experiments do not work at the first try and you have to refine either your method or, if it still doesn't work, rethink you theories.

Also in Konstanz I worked with the frogs, but I switched the topic a bit. Away from meiosis and oocytes into the direction what happens after fertilization. After a lot of work and doubts (not only about the experiments, but also the PhD itself and what to do instead if it), the work came to a very happy ending. I know that to other scientists are not that lucky and projects finish without a (good) outcome.

I completed my PhD in 2013 and again had to think about what I want to do next. I knew that science will always be about publishing and I gave myself a hard time to answer the question if I want to join into this. But Biology is what I love to do and I simply could not imagine myself doing something else. After deciding to stay in science, I again had to find a topic that was interesting for me and a place, where I would like to work. I applied for different positions but in the end chose something that was again about meiosis, because it is cell cycle regulation and simply very cool in my eyes.

Since 2014 I'm in Cambridge, UK, working at the Laboratories of Molecular Biology.

 

tl;dr

If someone offeres you a hand, take it.