EU-LIFE

Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe
Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe

Martin Schaefer from MDC to CRG

What do you work on and why is your research important?

I'm working on deciphering gene circuits in cancer. In particular I'm interested why every cancer is different on the molecular level: different sets of genes are mutated or disregulated across cancer types but even the (epi-)genome of patients with the same cancer show a large heterogeneity. I'm trying to find out how environmental factors in combination with cell type specific properties shape the molecular profiles of cancer we observe. Understanding this variability becomes possible due to the ongoing efforts to characterize the molecular profiles of many patients and is a prerequisite for developing stratified treatments.

What is special about your former institute?

First of all, Berlin is a great city. At the MDC I always have enjoyed the stimulating scientific atmosphere and as a PhD student I benefited a lot from the great training opportunities. The interdisciplinary of the research gave me the opportunity to work as bioinformatician in close collaboration with experimental groups

What is special and what do you like most about your current institute?

To work as a PostDoc at the CRG in Barcelona I moved from Berlin to another great town. Scientifically, we have a very collaborative atmosphere at the CRG. Within the systems biology program there are a lot of common activities and a very open exchange of ideas. Obviously not many institutes offer the opportunity to make a break at the beach and play some volleyball.

If only I know then what I know now,  I would advise...

Besides scientific excellence the lab and institute culture is very important to choose the right work place to do science: the people around you will largely affect your productivity and the fun you will have.