The Faces Of NGC
An Interview with Heiko Endle
Written by Isabelle
Heiko is the technical face of NGC, maintaining and improving our webpage every day. He is currently doing his PhD in the Vogt group, where he studies the role of synaptic phospholipids on excitation by employing electrophysiology. In this interview, he shares details about his life, career and hobbies.
Tell us about your origins: where are you from and what have you studied?
I’m from Karlsruhe, Germany, and I moved to Mainz for my university studies. At Mainz University I did my bachelor’s in molecular biology, learning cell culture and protein purification techniques, and my master’s in biology, during which I started learning electrophysiology.
Why did you choose to pursue a PhD?
During my biology studies, I became fascinated with neuroscience, a field that didn’t appeal to me so much before. I did molecular work for my bachelor’s and liked it a lot, but I was really intrigued by synapses and their function, so I decided to learn electrophysiology and took classes during my master’s. The challenge was that electrophysiology is one of those techniques requiring plenty of practice and consequently a huge time commitment to master them, which is why it isn’t usually taught to bachelor’s or even master’s students. So, when I got the opportunity to start practicing electrophysiology for my master’s thesis, I grabbed it and joined a research group studying a class of neuronal membrane proteins, PRGs. We are slowly solving the puzzle that is their function. I am currently doing my PhD working in the same group with an international team, to better understand how lipid signaling works at excitatory synapses and to acquire more electrophysiology-skills on the way.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
When I’m not in the lab you might either find me competing in Magic the Gathering tournaments all around the world or sleeping.
What is your role in NGC and why did you join it?
I am responsible for NCG’s website, where you are currently reading this interview. I joined NGC because I like doing voluntary work to help my peers, something I came to know during my time with the “Fachschaft Biologie” (Fachschaft = representatives of the student body of a specific faculty; editor’s note) at Mainz University. I was a member of the Fachschaft during my studies and had a lot of fun, but I left when I started my PhD. I didn’t realize how much I missed this kind of work until I got asked to join NGC.
How do you see your future?
I haven’t decided on my future after my PhD quite yet but I’m open to different career paths, including postdoctoral positions in academia and industry.
Written by Isabelle Arnoux; Edited by Chiara Galante. Picture: NGC/Heiko Endle. Featured Image: NGC/Design.