For the period of 2023-2024, there are seven working groups that focus on current topical issues within the network. They suggest and implement next steps concerning the following topics:
- Postdoc survey
- Public communication and advocacy
- Network growth and outreach
- Working conditions and Mental health
- Career development
- Diversity and Inclusion
The core topics covered in the working groups may change over time, new topical focuses can be suggested at every annual meeting and will be voted on. Working groups are open to all postdocs in the Leibniz Association. If you want to join a working group, please do so by contacting the spokespersons and the working group coordinators.
Mine is a post-doctoral researcher working on virus interactions in mosquitoes at the Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM). After completing her BSc in Biology at Istanbul University in Turkey, she received a scholarship for joining European Masters in Applied Ecology program. She completed a double MSc degree in Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany and Poitiers University in France. She did her PhD in Evolution of Infectious Systems at Montpellier University in France. Having been a foreign researcher all her academic career, she is familiar with the associated struggles and worries. She now wants to put her experience to good use to help other researchers in similar situations and to improve the working conditions for all post-docs. She firmly believes science needs the diverse perspectives that researchers with diverse backgrounds bring, and this diversity can only be sustained in academia by joint efforts for inclusion and support. She is excited to join Leibniz Postdoc Network, which provides an excellent platform and teamwork to achieve these!
Meet Peter, an innovative process engineer that is spearheading advancements in a novel wet fiber placement technology at the Leinbiz-Institute for Composite Materials (IVW) since 2020. As a vital member of the Interdisciplinary research group TopComposite, he’s at the forefront of redefining the manufacturing of composite materials. Beyond his technical expertise, Peter brings a unique background, holding dual citizenship and receiving education in a Palestinian school in Nazareth, Israel. In 2013, he earned his Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern, and worked in the industry until December 2014. However, drawn back to academia, he pursued research in micro grinding at the University of Kaiserslautern’s Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Production Systems. Peter successfully earned his Ph.D. in 2021 while actively contributing to the IVW. Peter is excited about the new challenges that await in the Leibniz Postdoc Network and will give it his all!
Dr. Gitta Heinz (DRFZ), Dr. Lydia Repke (GESIS), Dr. Steve Doo (ZMT), Dr. Sami Ullah (DSMZ), Dr. Rajini Nagrani (BIPS), Dr. Marta-Ferreira-Gomes (DRFZ)
As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology (TU Munich, Germany), Małgorzata has spearheaded projects focusing on the molecular modelling of taste and odorant receptors. Her expertise encompasses advanced computational methodologies, including virtual screening, molecular docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and Machine Learning for robust data analysis. During her PhD tenure at the University of Gdansk (Poland), she extensively explored intricate protein-ligand and sugar-ion interactions, leveraging advanced computational tools. Her research fellowship at the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science (Gdansk, Poland) concentrated on pioneering approaches to ovarian carcinoma treatment, integrating computational techniques for peptide design, organic chemistry compound synthesis, and thorough characterisation through ELISA and SPR measurements. Małgorzata’s earlier ventures involved investigating the impact of nanomaterials on the HL-60 cell line and peripheral blood neutrophils as models of induced inflammation at Heriot-Watt University (UK). Furthermore, she gained valuable experience through analytical chemistry internships at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (Germany). Beyond academia, she indulges in winter sports, travelling, dog training, and exploring diverse international cuisines.
Marta Ferreira-Gomes (DRFZ), Lydia Repke (GESIS)
WG 1 – Survey
The goal of WG 1 is to collect and provide data on Leibniz PostDocs to get an idea about who Leibniz PostDocs are and how they are doing at their Leibniz Institutes. We regularly administer surveys, analyze and publish the results, as well as present the results in the Leibniz Postdoc Network, at meetings, or conferences.
In summer 2020, we administered the First Leibniz PostDoc Survey to examine employment histories, future career plans and training needs, as well as challenges concerning work-life balance or relationships with superiors. Some of the questions were specifically related to the situation of Leibniz PostDocs with an international background. The results of this survey are available on our website (see Resources).
In winter 2022/23, we run the Second Leibniz PostDoc Survey that aims at providing an update on many aspects asked in the first survey. Additionally, we included new topics in the survey, targeting aspects like working remotely or mental health. With all these questions, we hope to provide evidence on topics that currently matter for Leibniz PostDocs.
Working Group Coordinators
Harry is currently a postdoctoral researcher working at the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) in Hamburg, Germany. At the BNITM, his research is focussed on determining how neglected tropical diseases, in particular bunyaviruses, replicate in the human body using a combination of structural-biology techniques. Before this, he completed his PhD at Keele University (UK) working on a project that focussed on exploring how proteins of the innate immune response recognise and bind to their natural targets on the surface of pathogens.
Regina is a postdoctoral researcher in the project “Educational Trajectories of Refugee Children and Adolescents” at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories in Bamberg. She studied sociology at the LMU Munich and received her doctoral degree at the University Bremen. Her research interests include educational and labour market integration of different types of migrants. She is involved in the Leibniz Postdoc Network to hopefully contribute to improving the working conditions and career prospects for postdoctoral researchers across all institutes.
Dr. Lena Roemer, Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS)
Dr. Thomas Lösch, Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF)
Dr. Daniela Fiedler (IPN), Dr. Gundula Zoch (LIfBi), Dr. Johannes Breuer (GESIS), Dr. Verónica Díez Díaz (MfN), Dr. Tamara Heck (DIPF), Dr. Gitta Heinz (DRFZ), Dr. Lydia Repke (GESIS) and Dr. Sabrina Hempel (ATB)
WG 2 – Communication
The working group Public Communication and Advocacy develops and communicates a shared denominator for the heterogeneous interest group of postdocs. Our intention is to raise the profile of postdocs at the Leibniz Association (and beyond) inside and outside of academia.
Working Group Coordinators
Gregor is an animal ecologist at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. He currently works in a project that aims to develop and test street lightings that reduce negative effects on insects funded via BfN (German Federal Agency for the Protection of the Environment).
Christian belongs to the division of Biophysics at the Research Center Borstel. Since his physics studies, he has been particularly fascinated by interdisciplinary collaboration on questions with medical relevance. One of his major research interests has been membrane-associated mechanisms of bacterial pathogenicity factors and host defense molecules. As a postdoctoral researcher in a current project of the Leibniz Cooperative Excellence, he is investigating the physical basis of bacterial propagation strategies (A risk index for health effects of mineral dust and associated microbes). Christian engages in the Leibniz PostDoc Network to strengthen the scientific mid-level staff, identify blind spots in the system, and address them through communication.
WG 3 – Infrastructure
The general aim of this working group is to conceptualise, set up and maintain the communication infrastructure of the Leibniz PostDoc-Network and to expand the reach of the network. We maintain the website, advertise the communication channels like the listserv, and reach out to the PostDoc representatives at the individual institutes. As Felix describes it, this is the “machine room” of the network. Our goal is to reach every PostDoc within the Leibniz society, so that they can experience the benefit of the network.
Working Group Coordinators
Maya moved to Germany in 2014 after receiving her Bachelor’s degree and then pursued her Master’s in Microbial and Plant Biotechnology from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in 2017. Further, she completed her Ph.D. in Plant Cell Biology from the University of Bonn in 2021. Since then she has been working as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich. Her current research is to use spatial transcriptomics to profile the morphological and transcriptional data in crops using high resolution microarrays. As a member of the Leibniz Postdoc Network, she is thrilled to be a part of the “Machine room” and expand the network.
Tongta currently works as a PostDoc in the Microbiome Dynamics department at Leibniz-HKI. Their main focus is applying bioinformatics knowledge to study the diversities in microbiomes in different human metabolic diseases as well as different environments.
Dr. Felix Victor, Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
WG 4 – Working conditions and Mental Health
The Working Conditions and Mental Health working group has two main aims: First, we want to address and advocate for key issues postdoctoral researchers face when working at Leibniz Institutes, such as mental health and wellbeing issues, contract issues (i.e., WissZeitVG, Einstufung), and working issues that are particularly exacerbated by the pandemic (i.e., care obligations, contract extensions, social isolation). Based on our international experience, we aim to develop new resources for postdoctoral researchers that help them settling in in Germany. This includes developing a welcome package for Leibniz PostDocs and providing an overview of important official documents that international postdocs need (English versions), resources for networking during the pandemic, and beyond.
Working Group Coordinators
Katarzyna received her PhD degree in chemistry from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in 2014. After PhD she worked as an Assistant Professor at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow where she was working on the synthesis of functional nanomaterials by electrochemical methods, their characteristics, and application in nano/microstructural chemical sensors, nanomotors, or nanoelectronic devices. As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, she joined IBM Research – Europe, Zurich, Switzerland in 2020. Katarzyna’s research and outreach activities focused on adopting alternative synthesis paths for III-V semiconductor integration on silicon, nanoscale fabrication technologies, and device characterization. During her fellowship, she was looking into the application of electrodeposited InSb-based nanodevices. During this time, Katarzyna was also involved in technology development for RTD and FET integration for pulse generator devices and explored the possibilities of implementing electrodeposited nanowires for close-loop regulation of cellular electrical activity. In 2022 she joined Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany where she continues her work on III-V materials growth and integration for photonic and optoelectronic integrated circuits.
Katarzyna solely believes that when people with different backgrounds work together amazing things can be achieved.
Judith initially studied bioinformatics and received her bachelor’s degree from the TU München and LMU. She then moved to Paris to combine lab experiments and computational analyses during her master studies ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Science’ at Université Paris Descartes. During her PhD work at College de France in Paris and UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas she focused on coevolution of genes, as well as protein thermal stability. For her postdoc, Judith is back in Germany, working at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ in Braunschweig. Her projects revolve around natural products from bacteria and brought her back to her roots in bioinformatics.
Dr. Jacqueline Kroh, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi)
Dr. Axel Schulz, German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ)
Dr. Praveen Kumar, Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB@TUM)
Dr. Malgorzata Kogut-Günthel, Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (LSB@TUM)
Dr. Jacqueline Malchow, German Maritime Museum (DSM)
Dr. Daniel Felipe Saldivia Gonzatti, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)
Dr. Marlene Mauk (GESIS), Dr. Nathalie Topaj (ZAS), Dr. Gillian Dornan (FMP) and Dr. Mine Altlini (BNITM), Dr. Andreas Weich (GEI)
WG 5 – Career Development
The Career Development working group has one main goal: To offer support for the development of essential skills for postdocs. This includes training opportunities on, for example, grant writing, project management, or communication. Hereby, we want to make use of the size and heterogeneity of the Leibniz Association and establish collaborations to make these courses available to a broader audience.
Working Group Coordinators
Rajini completed her PhD in epidemiology in October 2014 from Tata Memorial Centre, Homi Bhabha National Institute, India and thereafter earned a position as Scientific Officer at the same institute. She later worked as Postdoctoral researcher at Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria and since October 2018 is working at Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research & Epidemiology-BIPS, Bremen. Her research interests are non-communicable disease epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and global health. With the Leibniz Postdoc network she would like connect with her peers, provide information on initial administrative procedures and career development.
Marta is a Portuguese immunologist working in Germany since 2014. She got her Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and Masters in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. After that, she moved to Germany, where she started her PhD at the Department of Cell Biology of the University of Jena, investigating the interplay between B cells and the fungus Candida albicans. Since 2019 Marta has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the DRFZ Berlin, trying to uncover more about how the body long-term stores its immune memory. Active in the Leibniz Postdoc Network as Financial Officer in 2021 and as Spokesperson in 2022 and 2023, she is now thrilled to embrace this new challenge of co-coordinating the Career Development group. Marta strongly believes that PostDocs deserve better support now, so that they can better choose their tomorrow.
Dr. Sina Fackler (LIfBi) and Dr. Christina Stehle (DRFZ)
WG 6 – Diversity and Inclusion
This working group is dedicated to issues of diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality with regard to the functioning of the Leibniz PostDoc Network and the Leibniz-wide workplace. On the one hand, we want to increase the awareness, acceptance, and importance of the differences between individuals within the Leibniz Association. On the other hand, we want to encourage an atmosphere that enhances mutual respect, active participation, and diverse contributions among Leibniz employees. We plan to implement concrete and sustainable practices of inclusion that will address intersectional inequalities.
Sravanthi obtained her PhD from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India. She started as a Postdoctoral Research at the FMP in Berlin since January 2023. Her research interests are protein trafficking and organelle biogenesis/maturation in neurons. With the Leibniz Postdoc network, she would like to connect with her peers and work with them to help make Leibniz institutes more diverse and inclusive.
Marion is a postdoctoral researcher in the area of laser induced plasmas in deep-sea conditions at the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology in Greifswald. She studied physics at the university in Rostock and received her doctoral degree at the Heinrich-Heine university in Düsseldorf. She is involved in the Leibniz Postdoc Network to increase the awareness of the challenges posed by disabilities and promote inclusion through information.
Dr. Rebea Kleymann (IGB) and Dr. Kingsly Chuo Beng (IGB)
WG 7 – Sustainability
The sustainability working group is a joint group with the Leibniz PhD Network, being coordinated by Kristine Oevel from the PhD Network.
For more information https://leibniz-phd.net/wg-sustainability/
Elif Köksoy (DSMZ)