The desire to understand how things work is certainly the most important driver for me. If we can help to better understand the molecular tools of plant pathogenic microorganisms and if this knowledge can be used to develop resistant crops, then that would be a great success.
Enthusiasm and the curiosity to get to the bottom of things. A little talent for understanding connections certainly doesn't hurt either. For a career in science, you probably also need: frustration tolerance, stamina and the willingness to endure criticism and rejection. Since no one can do everything, you have to learn early to collaborate and network with others.
Just hypothetical answers: One of them is Barbra McClintock. The clarity of thought and the sharpness of her work, her whole life's work - it's just impressive. The second person is Freddy Mercury. I would have loved to see him live as a singer and then ask him how to write a song like "Bohemian Rhapsody."
It's those "aha moments" when you look at a result and suddenly a question you've been pursuing for months, maybe even years, answers itself. I hope to have a few more such moments ahead of me. Then there is Christmas Eve 2013, when I opened the mailbox and saw an envelope with the return address "University of Cologne." Inside was the call to my professorship - there have been worse Christmas presents.
Enjoying time with my family.
Principle Investigator, Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Cologne
In CEPLAS since:
Place of birth:
Adenau (Eifel), Germany