People & Activities

Organization

Two spokespersons, Dr. Steve Doo (ZMT) and Dr. Lydia Repke (GESIS), two working group coordinators per working group, and one financial officer have been elected to represent the Leibniz PostDoc Network.

For the period of 2020-2021, there are six working groups that focus on current topical issues within the network. They suggest and implement next steps concerning the following topics:

  1. Postdoc survey
  2. Public communication and advocacy
  3. Network growth and outreach
  4. Career development and working conditions
  5. Diversity and Inclusion
  6. Sustainability

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.


Spokespersons

Dr. Steve Doo
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)

Steve received his bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and Music Performance from the University of California, Davis in 2008, and a master’s degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University through the Three Seas Program in 2011.  Steve received his PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia in 2017 where he studied the ecophysiology and sediment production of large benthic foraminifera on coral reefs. He then started and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at California State University, Northridge, studying the effects of climate change on coral reef ecosystem function. He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) with Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal. As a tropical ecologist, Steve has had the opportunity to perform research in many locations including the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), French Polynesia, Taiwan, Japan. He is especially excited to continue in the Leibniz PostDoc Network as a co-Spokesperson to help increase resources available and networking opportunities for Postdoctoral Researchers within the Leibniz Association.

Dr. Lydia Repke
GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS)

Lydia studied political and administrative sciences at the Universität Konstanz, Germany, including a research stay at Boğaziçi Üniversitesi in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from the double master’s degree program European Master in Government of the Universität Konstanz and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, where she afterward also obtained her doctor’s degree with a focus on cultural psychology and social networks (2017). Throughout her studies, she was funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. In 2018, she started working as a postdoctoral researcher in survey research and questionnaire design at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS). In 2020, Lydia became a member of the Young Academy of the Academy of Science and Literature | Mainz, Germany. Lydia has been co-spokesperson of the Leibniz PostDoc Network since 2018. Together with her colleagues of the network, she wants to create equal rights and opportunities across all Leibniz Institutes.


Working Groups

WG 1 – Postdoc Survey

The Postdoc Survey working group started with the planning of the first Leibniz Postdoc Survey in the fall of 2018. The goal of the survey was to systematically collect data on the working situation, career plans, and the need for training opportunities of postdocs within the Leibniz Association. The first survey was conducted in late summer 2020. The online survey examined employment histories as well as future career plans and training needs, but also potential challenges with regard to work-life balance or relationships with superiors. Some of the questions were specifically related to the situation of postdocs with an international background. From the end of 2020 to early 2021, the group will analyze the data in detail and prepare a written report. Once the report has been published, the group will start with the planning of the next survey.

Working Group Speakers
Dr. Johannes Breuer
GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS)

Johannes studied media studies at the University of Cologne and received his Ph.D. in psychology also from the University of Cologne. He works as a postdoc in the team Data Linking & Data Security at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS). His research interests include the use and effects of digital media, the methods of media (effects) research, data management, and open science. For him, being involved in the Leibniz PostDoc Network represents an exciting opportunity to network with other postdocs across institutes and disciplines, and to discuss topics of common interest for postdocs, such as working conditions or career paths.

Dr. Gundula Zoch
Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi)

Gundula is a postdoctoral fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) in Bamberg. Previously she studied sociology and economics at the University of Leipzig and received her doctorate from the University of Bamberg. Her research interests include family sociology and research on social policy and labour market participation as well as quantitative methods. She is involved in the Leibniz PostDoc Network to provide a framework for young researchers to exchange their ideas, experiences and goals and thus learn from each other and gain new ideas and insights.

WG 2 – Public Communication and Advocacy

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 Speakers
Dr. Gregor Kalinkat
Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)

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).

Dr. Christian Nehls
Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center (FZB)

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 – Network Growth and Outreach

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 Speakers
Dr. Johanna Callhoff
German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin (DRFZ)

Johanna has been working as a statistician at the German Rheumatism Research Centre Berlin (DRFZ) since 2011. Her research focuses on health services research for persons with musculoskeletal diseases.

Dr. Felix Victor Münch
Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)

Felix is an early career researcher in computational social science with a PhD from the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT (Brisbane, Australia). Currently he works as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) in Hamburg. With a B. Sc. in Physics (LMU, Munich, Germany), an M. A. in Journalism (LMU and German Journalist School, Munich, Germany) and work experience in online media brand communication as an online media concepter, user experience designer, and strategist, his main fields of interest were recently network science methodologies, social media analytics, big data, data science, and theories regarding the public sphere.

WG 4 – Career Development and Working Conditions

The Working Conditions and Career Development 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.

Second, we would like 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 Speakers

Working Conditions

Dr. Gillian Dornan
Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP)

Steve received his bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and Music Performance from the University of California, Davis in 2008, and a master’s degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University through the Three Seas Program in 2011.  Steve received his PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia in 2017 where he studied the ecophysiology and sediment production of large benthic foraminifera on coral reefs. He then started and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at California State University, Northridge, studying the effects of climate change on coral reef ecosystem function. He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) with Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal. As a tropical ecologist, Steve has had the opportunity to perform research in many locations including the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), French Polynesia, Taiwan, Japan. He is especially excited to join the Leibniz PostDoc Network to help increase resources available and networking opportunities for international researchers moving to Germany.

Dr. Nathalie Topaj
Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS)

Nathalie is a researcher at the Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS) in Berlin in the Research Area 2 “Language Development & Multilingualism.” She is the coordinator and project manager of the Berlin Interdisciplinary Network for Multilingualism (BIVEM) and the Interdisciplinary Research Network (IFV). She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Haifa, Israel, and a master’s degree from the University of Mannheim, Germany, where she completed her studies in English and Romance studies focusing on linguistics. She received her doctoral degree in 2018 at the Humboldt University of Berlin, investigating the use of referential expressions in the narrative discourse of monolingual and bilingual children in Russian and German. Her current research focuses on bilingual language acquisition, particularly narrative and literacy skills, on the development of language support materials and tests in various languages and training modules for pedagogical professionals. In addition, she offers counseling for parents, pedagogical staff, and other interested persons and institutions.

In the Leibniz PostDoc Network, she would like to share her experience with other postdocs, provide more networking opportunities, and contribute to more transparency in Germany’s academic field.

Career Development

Dr. Sina Fackler
Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi)

Sina is an educational researcher at the Leibniz-Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi). Prior to that, she did her B.A. at the University of Munich in Education and Communication Sciences and gained first research experience as a student research assistant and tutor. She then finished her studies at the University of Oxford, where she gained her M.Sc. in Educational Research Design and Methodology and completed her DPhil (PhD) also in Oxford in December 2018, where she specialized in quantitative research methods and secondary data analysis of large-scale social science data. For her PhD, Sina investigated predictors of teachers’ self-efficacy using the TALIS study of the OECD. Through the PostDoc Network she hopes to meet other postdocs in- and outside of her field and provide information for international postdocs to land smoothly in the German academic system.

Dr. Rajini Nagrani
Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research & Epidemiology – BIPS (BIPS)

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.

WG 5 – 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.

Working Group Speakers

Dr. Kingsly Chuo Beng
Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)

Kingsly is a postdoc at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. Prior to joining IGB, Kingsly was a postdoc at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He obtained a PhD in Ecology from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2016. A major goal of Kingsly’s research is to tackle the challenges of traditional biodiversity surveys via the use of next-generation sequencing techniques. He uses DNA metabarcoding to address basic and applied questions in Ecology and Conservation. He was looking for an international and exciting research environment to work in and he finds IGB impressive. Kingsly is happy to be a part of the Leibniz Postdoc Network and he is looking forward to work with you all. Together we can make the Leibniz Association even better!

Rabea Kleymann
Leibniz Centre for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL)

Rabea is a postdoctoral Digital Humanities researcher with a focus on posthumanism and (literary) theory. Currently, she is speaker of the German working group “Digital Humanities Theory.” She studied German Literature and Culture, focusing on gender studies, and Film Studies in Hamburg and Mainz. In her recently submitted dissertation, she presented the aggregate as an ordering model for nature and society marginalized in the systems discourse around 1800. As a research assistant at the Universität Hamburg, she was particularly investigating data visualizations for digital literary and cultural studies. Since February 2020 she pursues an interdisciplinary research project on recycling in literature, biology, and technology at the Leibniz Centre for Literary and Cultural Research in Berlin. Her research interests lie in the areas of philosophy of science and prototyping. Being part of the Leibniz PostDoc Network means for her to actively participate in the development of diverse and inclusive research infrastructures.

WG 6 – Sustainability

The WG sustainability comprises members from the Leibniz PostDoc Network and the Leibniz PhD Network. It aims at implementing sustainability measures at Leibniz institutes. We work on finding solutions for more sustainable mobility of Leibniz employees, eco-friendly lab routines, proper waste and energy management, and greener facility management at Leibniz institutes. Moreover, coordinating workshops and seminars with invited speakers from research and governmental facilities that revolve around climate protection and sustainability are among our main activities.

Working Group Speaker

Dr. Elif Koeksoy
Leibniz Institute DSMZ – German Collection of Cell Cultures and Microorganisms (DSMZ)

Elif is a geomicrobiologist at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ (German Collection of Cell Cultures and Microorganisms) in Braunschweig. She examines the genetic and biogeochemical mechanisms of microbial pyrite formation, a postulated prebiotic energy metabolism that is hypothesized to have emerged on iron-sulfide mineral surfaces. Elif received her PhD in Geoscience at the University of Tuebingen in 2018, where she also graduated previously as a M.Sc. in Microbiology and B.Sc. in Biology. During her first postdoctoral appointment at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine (USA), Elif investigated biomineral formation strategies in marine bacteria and their potential as novel sustainable nanomaterials. She is excited about joining the Leibniz Postdoc Network to connect with researchers of diverse backgrounds and to support establishing sustainability strategies for Leibniz institutes.

Financial Officer

Dr. Marta Ferreira Gomes
German Rheumatism Research Center Berlin (DRFZ)

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. Her project was developed in close collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute. Since 2019 Marta has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the DRFZ Berlin, trying to uncover more about how the body long-termed stores its immune memory. She is thrilled to embrace this new challenge and help the Leibniz PostDoc Network grow.