NGC Graduates

An interview with Katja Weckmann

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Katja Weckmann did her PhD rehearsal with NGC in 2016 but actually defended only in September 2017, after struggling to establish an approved committee. She shared with us what her life looks like now and how she sees the future.


What did you do after the PhD?

After my PhD at the MPI of Psychiatry in Munich, I joined the lab of Christian Behl and Parvana Hajieva as a junior post-doc at the Institute of Pathobiochemistry in Mainz.


Is it what you wanted to do?

Yes, I wanted to continue my career in academia.

I was a PhD representative in Munich and I invited Christian Behl during a career day. I knew that I wanted to work with him. We had a good feeling and after visiting his lab in Mainz, he offered me a post-doc position.


What do you like most about your new job that is different compared to your PhD position?

I like having more responsibilities. I am more independent, and I don’t have to refer to supervisors that much anymore. People come to me to get advice and I am glad to help them with their research.

Another aspect that I like more in my post-doc is the use of more diverse techniques. As a PhD student, I was mostly using mass spectrometry and bioinformatics. Now, I am combining these techniques with more standard ones, such as confocal microscopy and western-blot. I appreciate this diversification in my experimental routine.


If you think about your time as a PhD student, would you have done anything differently?

Of course, I would directly have done the most promising experiments!

Besides that, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I am happy with the path I followed.


How do you see your future?

In a few years, I would like to work as a senior post-doc in a foreign country. I would like to get international experience and see how other researchers perform outside of Germany. I am already in contact with someone in Copenhagen and I will visit her soon. Then, I wish to come back to Germany to start my own group. My ultimate goal is to reach a professor position of a small team, where I can follow up all the projects.

Written by Isabelle Arnoux. Featured Image: NGC/Design.

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