I am a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley where I work in the Fletcher Lab in the Department of Bioengineering. I collaborate with a team of engineers and physicists to synthetically reconstitute ‘cell-like’ behaviors.
The path that brought me here? Well, I was born in Linz, Austria, where I spent the first 18 years of my life. Having developed an interest in biology I moved to Austria’s capital, and enrolled at the University of Vienna. I specialized in microbiology and during my master thesis investigated aspects of the molecular biology of common cold viruses (Prof. Tim Skern‘s laboratory, Department of Medical Biochemistry).
In 2003 I was accepted by the University of Cambridge, UK, where I did a PhD at the MRC-LMB (Medical Research Council – Laboratory of Molecular Biology) with Dr Harvey McMahon. I investigated the process by which cells communicate with their surroundings, take up nutrients and control their surface area. This process, called Clathrin-mediated endocytosis, is also often hijacked by viruses and toxins.
As much as I loved living in England I moved to a sunnier climate to do a postdoc in Berkeley as a Miller Fellow. Somehow living the Bay Area turned out to be so wonderful, that after my postdoc I happily accepted a staff position at UC Berkeley. So it comes that I still live in San Francisco with my husband and son. When I’m not in lab, I spend time with my family in our beloved neighborhood, the Mission Dolores. We find the unique mix of art and craziness very inspiring, and have embarked on all kinds of art projects, including dance, or experimenting with Holga photography.