The Faces Of NGC
An interview with Maximilian Christ
Written by Isabelle
Max supports the organization of scientific talks and social events at NGC. He is about to complete his PhD on the Sigma 1 receptor and autophagy in the Behl lab, where he will remain as a postdoc. In this interview, he shares his journey to the PhD, his long-term goals and his interest for the NGC.
Q: Where are you from and what have you studied? Have you always wanted to be a scientist?
I was born in Berlin, but my parents moved to the south of Germany when I was a baby. At four, we moved to Italy, where I grew up in Modena and Treviso. I then moved back to Berlin for my social service, and relocated to Mainz for my studies in biology. I have since grown fond of the city.
Since school, it was clear for me that I wanted to pursue a career either in science or medicine. I couldn’t get into medicine because my high-school grades weren’t good enough, thereby I enrolled in biology, thinking of changing my studies after a few semesters. However, I was quickly captivated by genetics, took a deep interest in the field and decided to stay in the biology field to become a scientist.
Q: What was your motivation to pursue a PhD in biology?
It was a no-brainer for me to deepen my knowledge of biology with a PhD. On one hand, I wanted to develop my skills further, and on the other hand, I had additional career opportunities in mind. Now that I will defend, I look back at my PhD life and I feel really glad I stuck to it. Despite some strenuous times, I must say I had a really great time in the lab.
Q: What does your daily life consist of?
My daily life is full of joyful stress, as I have recently become a father. Therefore, when I’m not in the lab, I change nappies, prepare meals, play with my little boy or try to keep the house somewhat clean. Finally, in the evening, my wife and I get one-two hours for ourselves… and we are so exhausted that we just watch Netflix and relax.
Q: What is your long-term goal? Do you plan to stay in academia or are you going to explore other options?
I haven’t decided yet. I’m open for both staying in academia and transitioning to industry. Both have ups and downs, but I am quite flexible and I am really curious to see where I will be in ten years. As for now, I remain in the Behl lab, where I have a postdoc contract and where I’ll gain some experience as a university lecturer as well.
Q: How did you come to join NGC and what do you like most about it?
I work in the same group as Fazi, in which Mirjam also did her PhD. The two of them approached me and asked me if I wanted to join. I was happy to do so. I really like new opportunities to get insights from PhDs about their jobs and what’s different or important. What I also really like is NGC’s informal atmosphere. It was especially nice at the start of my PhD to have such a relaxed environment where you could really feel free to ask anything.
In addition, the team is great and before the pandemic we had quite the fun meetings and a really good time together. I’m really looking forward to seeing the others in person again, maybe with a beer in one hand and a snack in the other.
Written by Isabelle Arnoux; Edited by Jie Shi. Featured Image: NGC/Design.