Branch out! Alumni career series for (plant) scientists

Get insights into different career paths and benefit from personal experiencs of our Alumni!

There are plenty of career options for (plant) scientists and finding your personal career objectives is very challenging for most early career researchers. Therefore, we are very happy that Alumni of our programs are willing to share insights about their career with current PhD students and postdocs from our programs as part of our new career series.

The Alumni career series are a great opportunity to explore different careers, get a hint of what you can grow into and benefit from personal career experiences of our Alumni!





Branch Out! 2021


The 2021 seminar series took place from late August 2021 to mid-September 2021 on three Friday afternoons (online via Zoom).

Sessions and Speakers

August 27: Careers in Industry - R&D and consultancy

  • Dr. Panpan Jiang, Project Lead at BASF Vegetable Seeds, Netherlands, as of August 2021 scientific manager I product support at Bayer AG, Germany
  • Dr. Claire Lessa Alvim Kamei, Team Lead DNA Operations at Hudson River Biotechnology, Netherlands
  • Dr. Filipa Tomé, Innovation consultant at Innovayt A/S, Portugal
  • Dr. Felix Frey, Consultant, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Germany & Freelancing Consultant, The Global Crop Diversity Trust, Germany

September 10: Careers in Academia:

  • Dr. Yang Bai, Principal investigator at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Dr. Sara Farrona, Principal investigator at the Plant & AgriBiosciences Centre (PABC), Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland
  • Prof. Dr. Maria von Korff Schmising, Full professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Dr. Peter K. Lundquist, Assistant professor at Michigan State University, USA

September 17: Careers in the Public sector - Research, education and data management & Technology Transfer

  • Dr. Silke Gerlich, Postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Simulation - Section Materials Data Science and Informatics (IAS-9) at Forschungszentrum Jülich & HMC (Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration); previously Coordinator at Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Bonn
  • Dr. Maida Romera Branchat, MSC Programme Coordinator at Münster University
  • Dr. Mara Schuler-Bermann, Start-up Advisor-Technology Scout, Saarland University
  • Dr. Antonella Succurro, Scientific Officer at the West German Genome Center (WGGC) and Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute, Bonn

The 2021 seminar series was organized by a team of coordinators, namely Petra Fackendahl (coordinator IRTG iGRAD-PLANT), Stefan Wagner (coordinator MPIPZ Graduate School), Nadine Rademacher (coordinator CEPLAS Graduate School) and Juliane Schmid (coordinator CEPLAS Postdoc Program).

Organizing institutions


for more information or feedback please contact your program coordinator or write an Email to

branchout[at] or office[at]

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich