Alessa's scientific work in one sentence
Examining the effect of metabolic changes that come with aging and obesity on T cell anti-tumor immunity.
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University Studies: M.Sc. TU Kaiserslautern, 2018
Current Position: PhD student, DKFZ Heidelberg
5 questions about research - past, present, future
1. What are your primary tasks and responsibilities in your actual position?
Planning and performing experiments, understanding the results and placing them in the scientific context.
2. What is it that gives you pleasure and/or satisfaction the most?
Coming up with an idea or theory, planning the experiment, looking at the results and seeing that things worked exactly as planned – very rare moments though.
3. Which research question(s) affects you at the moment? What is its social significance?
Both, aging and obesity, are growing global health issues and are well known to increase cancer risk. In my PhD project I aim to find metabolites that are synergistically enriched or deprived in aged and obese individuals that might be responsible for the reduced T cell anti-tumor immunity in those conditions.
4. Which publication influenced you the most?
There is not one publication in particular, but rather a constantly growing collection of publications that helps me to understand the very complex topic of T cell anti-tumor immunity.
5. What do you like most about AMPro? What are your particular plans within the collaboration?
I like being connected to other people who work on the same topic, but in a completely different context. Also, I enjoy sharing a PhD project with Julia Zuber in Munich (IDC). Working on the same project enables us to exchange information, share experiences and most importantly, get different perspectives and new ideas.
5 questions beyond research
1. What are your experiences with reconciliation of family or private and working life?
I think work-life balance is one the most important things to learn during a PhD. In the life of a scientist it is not always easy to find this balance. Being productive and efficient during work time to make space for family, friends and hobbies afterwards is an important skill to learn and I’m still working on this.
2. What is the experience during your PhD you will remember all your life?
Still collecting those experiences.
3. Which book and/or movie has lately affected you the most?
Vom Ende der Einsamkeit (The End of Loneliness) by Benedict Wells.
4. What are your hobbies?
Surfing (whenever possible), running and hiking, playing the piano and learning to play the guitar.
5. What is your favorite color, season and/or football (or other sports) club?
My favorite colors are green (the fresh green from new leaves in spring) and the turquoise when the sun hits the ocean. My favorite seasons are spring and autumn when colors change and nature looks different every day.