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Alumni Portrait

Irena and Björn Burmann, University of Gothenburg
February 2024

She says, he says: With kit and caboodle to Sweden
Both are researchers at the University of Gothenburg: he is a professor; she is a senior scientist. The two Biozentrum alumni talk about their settling in Sweden and the challenges of balancing family and career. More

Marcel Weber, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Geneva
January 2023

A philosophical perspective on science   
Marcel Weber is especially interested in scientific reasoning. How does it work, where are its limits, and how objective is it? During the pandemic, particularly questions about values became acute. More

Britta Hartmann, Head of the Division of Medical Genetics at the Cantonal Hospital Aarau
May 2022

“Many things just worked out that way”
The Alumna Britta Hartmann talks about where her life’s path has led her, how she made her way from developmental biology to human genetics and how coincidence always accompanied her. More

Hilde Jannsens, IST Austria
Dezember 2020

Facing conflicts without fear
Seven different nations and cultures. Hilde Janssens has experience in how differently people communicate and so, after 20 years in research, she decided to become a communications trainer for scientists. More 

Sacha Glardon, Biology Teacher, Basel
December 2020

When biology becomes a life’s passion
He cherishes Walter Gehring’s Drosophila strains, an old PCR machine from the Biozentrum and the Basel “Fasnacht”. Biozentrum alumnus Sacha Glardon is a passionate biologist and a man of many talents. More 

Max Brackmann, Postdoc Spiez Labor
May 2020

On a peace mission
Whether anthrax, Ebola, or corona viruses – none of these are exotic to Biozentrum alumnus Max Brackmann. In this interview he talks about his work with dangerous pathogens, and chemical weapons at the Spiez Lab. More

Catherine Brun, Scientific advisor at the ETH Board
November 2019

Leaving the comfort zone 
Leaving your own comfort zone can sometimes be quite daunting, but it is in any case a chance to try something completely new. Catherine Brun speaks from experience. More 

André Brunella, Manager of Product Development & Claim Substantiation at Colgate-Palmolive Europe
June 2019

Preventing “drill & fill”
He has been searching for years for the magic formula to spare us from having to visit the dentist. But André Brunella, does not only juggle with formulae for toothpastes, but also for artwork. More

Michaela Roth, PhD in Translational Neurology, University of Lund
June 2019

Just a question of perspective
In Tanzania you can wait for five hours for a train, and no one complains. In Sweden there is a two-month summer break. In Switzerland, in contrast, this time is used efficiently. More

Gottfried Eisner, Study Director Ecotoxicology at Innovative Environmental Services (IES)
December 2018

Always on duty for the environment.
Springtails, earthworms, midges, zebrafish, bees and bacteria have important jobs at IES. They help determine the toxicity of novel substances to the environment. More                 

Björn Grünenfelder, Senior Global Program Manager at Novartis
July 2018

From block course to cooking class
In the block course they were simply known as the Nirvanas. Twenty years on, in a cooking class, their hair was shorter, yet each slipped back into his old role. More 

Anna Mandinova, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School
July 2018

Well prepared for life
For almost 15 years, Anna Mandinova has been working in Boston. She is not only inspired by the great opportunities for translational medicine, but also by the American football team “Boston Patriots”. More

Serej Ley, Postdoc at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town
November 2017

Terra Incognita.
One can hardly imagine a more exotic place to do a doctorate. Serej Ley spent four years in Papua New Guinea studying tuberculosis and experienced things that most of us only know from books or movies. More

Tobias Pauli, specialist in ophthalmology and eye surgery
November 2017

Look into my eyes…
Tobias Pauli looks deeply into people’s eyes every day. It’s his job. He is a practicing ophthalmologist and even after so many years, their beauty does not cease to fascinate him. More

Kathrin Thedieck, Professor of Metabolic Signaling
May 2017

The cross-border commuter 
Borders are not an obstacle for her, they exist to be crossed. Kathrin Thedieck not only commutes between the Netherlands and Germany, but also crosses the border between different research fields. More

Christian Sengstag, Deputy Vice President for Research at the University of Basel
November 2016

Exploring new horizons
He had never imagined that he would one day do anything other than research. But then his research institute was closed down and unexpectedly, completely new doors opened up for him. More

Barbara Geering, Senior Scientist at Roche
November 2016

Insights and outlooks 
Up on the 38th floor of the Roche Tower clouds obstruct the view but the scientist makes up for it, granting insights into her life and the recent leap from academy to industry. More

Natalyia Izergina, Founder Recruiter’s Advice
May 2016

Define your story, forget the fears.
Nobody can stop her. Natalya Izergina started as a veterinarian, then became a neurobiologist, then HR recruiter and, most recently, the founder of the company “Recruiter’s Advice”.  More

Georg Halder, Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium
May 2016

Always driven by curiosity
As a teenager he translated hieroglyphics and built a liquid engine. Later, as a PhD student in Walter Gehring’s lab, Georg Halder bred some weird flies with eyes on their legs. More

Gabrieal Güntherodt, Director for North America at BaselArea
December 2015

Jump in at the deep end
With her Master’s in Biochemistry  still  warm in her hand, market analyses, and product launches were already waiting for Gabriela Güntherodt. More

Thomas Meier, CEO Santhera Pharmaceutical AG
December 2015

No Plan B! 
Throwing in the towel has never crossed his mind. Nor does he ever have a plan B. Santhera CEO Thomas Meier was the first Biozentrum scientist to establish his own start-up. More

Anja Renold, Deputy Principal Gymnasium Bäumlihof
May 2015

Learning ‒ teaching ‒ sparking enthusiasm 
She definitely didn’t want to become a teacher. Yet she is one. For 15 years, Anja Renold has been teaching at the Gymnasium Bäumlihof. Since 2008, she is also the Deputy Principal. More

Mathis Brauchbar, partner advocacy AG
May 2015

Bridging cultural gaps
Mediating between cultures is not only a personal passion of Mathis Brauchbar but also a main feature of his profession. More

Isabelle Schubert, Patent Attorney, Novartis
November 2014

A heart and soul patent attorney 
Even before she began her studies, Isabelle Schubert knew where her career path would lead her. Her work as a patent attorney not only gives her joy but also keeps her on her toes. More

Randy Schekman, Nobel Prize Laureate
November 2014

Speaking from the soapbox
Brisk and sometimes bracing walks from his flat to and from the Biozentrum - this is the first thing that comes to mind to the famous Californian. More

Nadine Cybulski, Medical Writer
May 2014

From one who left…
She dared to take the big step into the unknown. The Biozentrum Alumna, Nadine Cybulski, left for Canada almost three years ago. No job, no plans, just like that! More

Thomas Müller, Journalist
May 2014

Getting the point in science
“Shhhh. It’s news time!” – That’s what children used to hear at lunch time. This family tradition has been lost over the years. But not so the broadcast of the Swiss Radio main news... More

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Nobel Prize Laureate
November 2013

Against the current
High over the roofs of Tübingen, is where Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard carries out research. In 1995, she was awarded the highest distinction a scientist can ever receive: a Nobel Prize. More


Hans-Peter Wessels, State Councilor
November 2013

From the lab bench to the political stage
Each morning he cycles to his office at the Münsterplatz in Basel. The usual business of telephone calls and writing – seen in most offices – are rare here. More

Tom Walz, Professor at Harvard Medical School 
May 2013

What is a shogun doing in a laboratory?
Shogun in the history of Japan was the title applied to a military general leading an army of samurais. Today, a certain shogun seems to play an important role in the laboratory of Thomas Walz. More

Christian Itin, CEO Cytos,
May 2013

A Swiss globetrotter
He is a scientist, founder of a company, businessman and currently CEO of the biotechnology company Cytos. He lives in Switzerland, the USA and Germany. More