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(C) Wolf G Kroner 2015 - Thomas WollertI want to do, what I want to do
Autophagy Researcher Thomas Wollert about Living for Science

July 2015. While the importance of basic biological process of autophagy is becoming more widely recognized, major mechanisms remain enigmatic and still await answers. 38 autophagy proteins are conserved from yeast to human, says Thomas Wollert. However it is not clear which role they are playing during the four five phases of initiation, expansion, sealing and fusion with lysosomes. Dr. Wollert currently is leader of the research group on Molecular Membrane and Organelle Biology at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry  *). His focus in autophagy research is in on biomedical applications, in particular in the areas of neurodegeneration (removing protein aggregation) and cancer chemotherapy (cell repair).

In the interview with B2Bioworld Thomas Wollert allows readers a gentle look behind the scenes. How is it to live for science? Being raised in Eastern Germany and enculturated in German universities, what was special as postdoc in the United States? What does he do in daily laboratory work? How does he manage his research at Max-Planck and balance it with his private life? His current contracts are ending in the near future. At the age of 36 he is seeking more sustainable engagements allowing him to do – as he puts it – «what I want to do». Which organisations will meet such stringent criteria? Where in the world does he look for new opportunities and what are his bargaining criteria? Thomas Wollert is typical for many academic researchers who dedicate their life to basic science, build a scientific reputation in a specialty, getting older while making their way from one temporary research contract to the other. A conversation about demands, needs, expectations, and hopes of a dedicated scientist. ed.

*) See for a presentation group members and his current research: https://www.biochem.mpg.de/en/rg/wollert


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