Careers Session

The Careers Session will give young researchers the opportunity to ask four experienced researchers daunting questions about various aspects of life as a scientist. Please feel free to ask about anything that you might be worried or curious about, including:

1. Balancing personal life and career

2. Academia vs industry – what are the pros and cons of each career route?

3. Moving abroad – importance of mobility in science

4. Establishing your own working group

The panel of experienced researchers will be represented by:

Oliver Ebenhöh – Junior Professor and head of the Institute of Quantitative and Theoretical Biology at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf (Germany); coordinator of AccliPhot

Oliver completed his PhD in Theoretical Biophysics at the Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany), where he continued to work as a postdoctoral researcher until 2006. He established his research group ‘Systems Biology and Mathematical Modelling’ at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam (Germany) in 2007. He then moved to the University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom) in 2009 where he was appointed Reader in Systems Biology as a joint position of the Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology and the Institute of Medical Sciences. He was appointed as the coordinator of the Theroetical Systems Biology research program in 2010. In 2014, Oliver began his position as Junior Professor and head of the Institute of Quantitative and Theoretical Biology at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf (Germany) where his research group mainly focuses on the development of mathematical models of plant energy metabolism and photosynthesis.

Julie Maguire – Research Director of Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station (Ireland)

Julie was awarded her PhD from University College Cork (UCC) investigating the stress biology of cultured Pecten maximus(scallops), although much of the research was carried out at IFREMER in France. Julie worked as a shellfish research officer for the Seafish Industry Authority in Scotland before returning to Ireland as a postdoctoral researcher in an EU project investigating the impact of dredging. In 2002 she became Project Officer for the Environmental Research Institute at UCC which involved the management of over 200 projects. Three years later, she became the Research Director of Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station (DOMMRS) – an independent commercial research station that focuses on aquaculture husbandry, macro-algal culture and IMTA, disease and fouling control, biofuel production, minimising waste in the aquaculture and fisheries production process, developing new products from waste, environmental monitoring and harmful algal blooms research and prediction. DOMMRS has co-ordinated a number of EU projects and in November 2013 was awarded the Copernicus Masters Award from the European Space Agency for “Best service for European citizens” (using satellite data) for work carried out on algal blooms.

Yumiko Sakuragi – Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Yumiko grew up in Japan but completed her PhD on cyanobacterial isoprenoid biosynthesis at Penn State University (USA) in 2004. She spent the next three years as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School (USA) and at the Royal Veterinary and Agriculture University (Denmark) where she looked into plant cell wall biosynthesis, plant cell wall-microbe interaction and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation. In 2008, Yumiko joined the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) as an Assistant Professor and Group Leader, and was later promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Her research group is interested in understanding i) the mechanisms of glycoconjugant synthesis and ii) biological functions of the glycoconjugants in photosynthetic organisms, including plant and cyanobacteria.

Patrik Jones – Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London (United Kingdom)

Patrick Jones is an international scientist whose career has taken him all over the world. He completed his PhD in the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2000, working in the field of plant biochemistry. He continued his research in the same field during his first postdoctoral position at the University of Chiba (Japan) after which he switched his interest to wine chemistry during a second postdoctoral position at the Australian Wine Research Institute. In 2005, he moved back to Japan and got his first Principal Investigator position at Fujirebio Inc., Tokyo, where his focus switched to microbial metabolic engineering. From this point on this has been his main focus, expanding his interest to cyanobacteria when he joined the University of Turku (Finland) as a Principal Investigator. He joined Imperial College London as a Senior Lecturer in 2013 where his research group has the objective of understanding and engineering the metabolism of prokaryotes, with particular focus on low-value products such as fuel and fertiliser for which sustainable production methods are needed.