Five questions to Gunther Döhlemann


Question 1

What is your main motivation as a scientist? What scientific question would you really like to be able to answer during your career?

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.

Question 2

You work together with many early career researchers. What qualities are particularly important to start a career in science?

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.

Question 3

If you had the choice, with which personality would you like to have a conversation sometime?

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."

Question 4

Which incident from your life as a researcher has remained in your memory the most?

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.

Question 5

What's your favorite thing to do after work?

Enjoying time with my family.



Gunther Döhlemann


Principle Investigator, Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Cologne

In CEPLAS since: 


Place of birth:

Adenau (Eifel), Germany