Heidelberg University
Heidelberg Alumni International
Phone: +49 6221 54-3489
Fax: +49 6221 54-2091

Heidelberg Alumni International


“I Would Not Hesitate to Go Back to Do Research in Heidelberg Again”


Prof. Dr.  Amalia Pasolli, Cell Biologist at Rockefeller University, New York City/USA, from 1 August 2014: Senior Scientist at Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Virginia

Postdoc at Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences (IZN) of Heidelberg University from 1994 to 1998, research stay at the IZN, Heidelberg University Medical Centre and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) from 19 to 27 October 2013 within the framework of the HAIreconnect programme


When, how long and in what position did you stay at Heidelberg University?

I did postdoctoral work at the Department of Neurobiology (now part of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences, IZN) from 1994 till 1998. I went back to my country, Argentina, in 1998. I kept coming back to Heidelberg twice a year till 2002 to collaborate with the teaching of electron microscopy techniques during Practical Course of Morphology in Cell Biology for students of Biology.


Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?

During my PhD at the Center for Electron Microscopy in Cordoba National University, Argentina, I heard a lot of good things about Heidelberg University. My PhD supervisor and two of the professors in our Center were Heidelberg Alumni. Many years before HAI and HAI Reconnect even existed they were already acting as Heidelberg University Ambassadors! They conveyed their experience at Heidelberg University with such enthusiasm, that it was not difficult for me to decide that Heidelberg was the right place to do postdoctoral work in cell biology and gain additional training in electron microscopy techniques applied to life sciences. I decided to apply for a postdoctoral position at Neurobiology. The Director at that time, Prof. Wieland Huttner, invited me to visit the institute in advance. I was thrilled with the Institute and the University campus. The city, with its beautiful Old Town and the castle seemed like just materialized straight from a fairy tale!!


What were your experiences in Heidelberg?

Heidelberg is a superb place to be in my field of research, life sciences and ultrastructural studies applied to the life sciences. The University has many research centers and institutes and it is in close proximity and interaction with the German Cancer Research Center, EMBL and Max Planck Institute. We had many seminars in campus given by world renowned scientists. Many of the great scientists that come nowadays to lecture at Rockefeller University (where I work now) I have already met in Heidelberg. On a personal note, I made lifetime friends with several colleagues of the lab. They are now spread all over the world (some stayed in Heidelberg) and we had remained in touch for more than 20 years. And of course, Heidelberg was a most beautiful place to live. I used to commute by bus to the Uni campus in Neuenheimer Feld every day for four years. It was like a sightseeing tour, passing through the Old City and with views of the Castle. I never got tired of looking outside the bus window.


How did your career continue after your time in Heidelberg?

I got a position as Assistant Professor and researcher in Argentina in my former lab. I worked there for four years and then decided to take a position at The Rockefeller University in New York, where I applied my electron microscopy skills to cell and developmental biology, in particular in the stem cell field. After 12 years at Rockefeller University, I decided to take a job at Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, where I will be working as a Senior Scientist at their Electron Microscopy Facility.


Why did you apply to HAIreconnect and what did you do during your stay in Heidelberg?

 It was a good opportunity to reconnect with my scientific roots. Heidelberg is at the forefront of electron microscopy applied to research. I could tell how much the campus has expanded in the last years: new labs, new facilities, state of the art microscopes. I had the chance of visiting them and even trying them with my own samples!


You are Research Alumni Ambassador for Heidelberg as a location of research – what are your experiences and plans?

I am very pleased with communicating my Heidelberg experience to students and postdocs at The Rockefeller University. My Facebook page has more pictures of Heidelberg than of any other place in the world! I am distributing printed material and online links about programs and opportunities at Heidelberg University. I believe that in addition to social media, the most powerful way of disseminating information is word of mouth. And whoever talks to me a few minutes can detect my genuine enthusiasm with Heidelberg and its University. I guess the best proof of my sincerity is to tell them I would not hesitate to go back to do research in Heidelberg again.

Email: Editor
Latest Revision: 2014-07-25
zum Seitenanfang/up