New position in Mannheim (Career change!)

After difficult 1.5 years of pandemic, juggling family and science, I desperately needed a change and had the luck to find the best fit for myself, so I did not “go away” from something but rather “went towards” something else.

Now, I am Academic Coordinator for the Master Programs TMR and IMIM in Mannheim (University of Heidelberg). I already feel happy in that job.

Weirdly, everything in Regensburg (apart from the pandemic of course) was going really great, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities and time I had there. I also won’t drop the research ball right away – there is still a Master Student to supervise and an acquired grant to support – for now as my leisure activity :-).

New position in Regensburg

I just started another position, of the postdoc-transitioning-to-groupleader kind. It feels like the perfect fit, and the environment and equipment could not be any better: It’s in the Department of Cell Biology and Plant Biochemistry, headed by Prof. Thomas Dresselhaus, and with one focus on Maize Reproduction. I am truly excited about joining there and look forward to how this will develop.

Ups and Downs:

This happened in the last couple months:

  • preparation fun (proposal and manuscript writing, job interviews)
  • exciting days of scientific discussions
  • cruelly long waiting times for (most) decisions, mainly being rejections
  • happy/ getting back some needed motivation: Wonderful visit at IPK for a guest seminar, 10day visit in Minnesota for a real-time PCR marathon yielding great data for perfecting a story for a manuscript
  • next: more writing, more writing, more writing… and hope… and a family vacation
Feeling accomplished (and eager for the next steps):

ERC Starting Grant submitted, W1 interview to prepare for, another great-fit application sent in, and a major research paper under intense analysis and writing. Also looking forward to a guest seminar at my PhD lab – reconnecting with Holger Puchta and his group!

  • 3 more publications accepted (2 method articles on maize and wheat meiocyte isolation, and a review on maize recombination – quite interesting brain exercise, comparing earlier intragenic recombination studies with whole-genome sequencing study conclusions)
  • about to present myself and my research in an institute I am eager to collaborate with or even join
  • about to submit and ERC Starting Grant – in good shape already and with a very alluring acronym 🙂
Time flies by –

since last Christmas, I almost faced unemployment in the US, helped get a grant to keep working on a UV-B project, got ranked third for a Juniorprofessorship in Germany, and then, this summer, just made the leap into moving my family to Germany and doing a self-financed sabbatical for a marathon of grant writing and applications. Just need to revise two papers on the side, and stay up-to-date and connected through conferences (EMBO Principles of Chromosome Structure and Function, pretty exciting and helpful) and guest seminars :-).

All I wish for Christmas –

is a Juniorprofessorship in Germany or an equally alluring opportunity! My 3-year old daughter is more modest: She told Santa that her wish are two Christmas trees – one for us and one for the grandparents :-).

Dealing with rejections:
  • one of the German faculty positions I interviewed for went to an epigenetic plant researcher – sad, but made sense to strengthen that area there instead of having another meiosis person
  • a proposal for a specific plant genome-editing call did get high marks but no funding – the reviewer comments gave me valuable input on how to write a proposal the next time (aim lower, focus more, don’t cram all  – though great and related – ideas together in one proposal)
  • good thing I am flexible – I still have promising applications in both the US and Germany, where and when will I start my dream job as a junior faculty?
Lots of stuff happening:
  • back from the EMBO Meiosis meeting in Croatia
  • added 3 more publications – a perspective paper on Hi-C with a new collaborator, one of the main big papers from my NSF project (on DSBs in maize meiosis), and a paper on stress promotors stemming from collaboration with a visiting scientist from Pakistan
  • still waiting for interview decisions
  • still deeply immersed in projects from two groups, and juggling life and work!
Excited: I succeeded in overcoming some hurdles, and submitted a proposal to a BMBF call in Germany which is tailored to one of my project ideas that could revolutionize the way Maize Genome Editing is done!
Feeling honored – got interviewed for the UMN Horticulture Newsletter.
Excited that there is now a way to get at least some credit for spending time and effort on peer-review.
Check out my Publons profile, and maybe create your own if you haven`t yet 🙂
Happy New Year to me and all of you!
Though unfortunate conditions prevented two intended job offers last year, I now feel that was a good thing since there are a couple new (and re-newed) very promising job possibilities in the line. Just interviewed for one, applying to another one (both in Germany), and expecting two more interview invitations here in the US.
2017, I am coming!
Final version of my review on mitochondria in plant development, free access through this link till Dec 16th:
Liberatore et al. 2016
This is exciting – and somehow a bit unsettling too, due to the waiting time and all the other projects going on: In addition to the Fellowship proposal, I sent 2 promising job applications out, keeping fingers crossed that one will work out soon, they are perfect fits.
Making good progress on my first own proposal – a draft for a Marie Curie Fellowship which would help me in reintegration to Germany and to conduct my own project. Goal: Send the draft to my mentors and potential host at the end of this July for concept approval and suggestions. #later update: though not getting into the highly competitive number of proposals funded, the proposal did get a “Seal of Excellence”
Oh – and yes, this homepage indeed managed to “go life” in June 2016 as intended!
“Endspurt” – set my goal to be done with this homepage till the end of this month! Not bad considering I only started 2 weeks ago…