Heidelberg University
Heidelberg Alumni International
Phone: +49 6221 54-19044
Fax: +49 6221 54-19049

Heidelberg Alumni International

Further Information

“My stay was extremely beneficial”

Porträt Zahran
Dr Mai Zahran

Dr Mai Zahran, Molecular Biologist at the New York City College of Technology in New York/USA

From 2007 to 2012 Doctoral Candidate at Heidelberg University, HAIreconnect-Stay in January 2018



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

My adventure in Heidelberg University started in January 2007 when I enrolled to the Biological sciences PhD program and ended in 2012 on a Friday 13th when I defended my PhD thesis!


Why did you decide in favour of the Ruperto Carola?

I had a very positive experience in Heidelberg before joining Ruperto Carola University, as a master student of Prof. Dr Rebecca Wade in EML Research gGmbH now known as Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). During that time I was introduced to the exciting research in computational biology performed at Ruperto Carola University and decided that this is the university I wanted to advance my scientific training. I also liked the city, the life style and the scientific vibe in Heidelberg.


What did you like best about being in Heidelberg? What suggestions would you have for improvements?

I liked the fact that Heidelberg is a student town; coming from a big city like Paris it was a welcome change. I particularly liked the international community in Heidelberg. Scientifically it is an exciting and vibrant environment with many high caliber institutions. One area of improvement is to provide hands-on workshops for PhD students to develop soft skills such as scientific communication and writing.


How did your career continue after your time in Heidelberg?

After my PhD I did a postdoc at New York University for two years. Since 2014 I am an assistant professor at the City University of New York.


What is your view of the German scientific system in comparison to that of your home country or to that of other countries where you may have conducted research?

As a professor in the US system I feel like there are more opportunities for scientific career growth in the US than in the European system. However as a student in France and Germany the lower tuition costs gave me opportunities that I may not have had in the US.


In your opinion, what is the importance of international exchanges for researchers?

I believe that bringing people together to exchange scientific ideas undoubtedly advances sciences. Doing so in an international level benefits a country more compared to limiting it to local interactions. If I look back at the experience I had during my PhD time in Heidelberg, our research group was composed of people from all over the world and I got richer from this experience, not only scientifically but also culturally.


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

I applied to HAIreconnect and came back to Heidelberg to have direct interactions with my collaborators on the research project we are undertaking. We discussed our data in details and brainstormed on the future directions to take. This stay was extremely beneficial to us.


What is your opinion of the opportunities made available through the Research Alumni Network? Have you taken advantage of any of these opportunities yet? If yes, please elaborate.

Heidelberg University is offering amazing opportunities to the Alumni community and I feel honored to be part of it. Apart from participating in the HAIreconnect program I haven’t yet taken advantage of them, but I hope to get involved in a near future.

Email: Editor
Latest Revision: 2019-03-08
zum Seitenanfang/up