June 12, 2017

Five DOC stipends for PhD students at IST Austria

Five PhD students at IST Austria have been awarded competitive stipends from the Austrian Academy of Sciences – IST Austria commends program that supports highly qualified students

Five PhD students at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have been awarded DOC stipends by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) in this round of funding. This is a remarkable achievement, given the competitive selection process of the candidates. The stipend, which is worth 38.500 Euro per year per stipend, will fund their PhD research for a duration of three years, resulting in a total of 115.500 Euro per stipend. All the awardees—four female students and one male student—work in the life sciences, with research topics ranging from optogenetics to the movement of immune cells.

Training the next generation of world-class scientists is one of the core missions of IST Austria, and the institute values highly the positive effects that funding schemes such as the DOC stipends have on promising early-career researchers. Planning a multi-year research project and presenting it in a project proposal are crucial skills, essential for the success of a scientist. Funding programs like the DOC stipends of the ÖAW allow PhD students to have their research plan evaluated in an international review process by experts in their field.

IST Austria’s awardees are Andi Harley Hansen in Simon Hippenmeyer’s group, Stephanie Kainrath in Harald Janovjak’s group, Hana Semeradova in Eva Benková’s group, Julia Steiner in Leonid Sazanov’s group, and Stephanie Wachner in Daria Siekhaus’ group.

Andi Harley Hansen obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a master’s degree in Behavioral-, Neuro-, and Cognitive biology in Vienna. He then joined Simon Hippenmeyer’s group at IST Austria where he investigates the molecular mechanisms of neuronal migration.

Stephanie Kainrath graduated with a BSc in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from IMC FH Krems in 2013, then started as an intern in the Janovjak lab working on optogenetic control of receptor signaling. She graduated with her MSc in Molecular Medicine from the University of Vienna in January 2016, and began as a PhD student at IST in the fall of 2016. She recently published a paper—“Green-Light-Induced Inactivation of Receptor Signaling Using Cobalamin-Binding Domains”—in the journal “Angewandte Chemie International Edition”.

Hana Semeradova obtained her Bachelor in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of Organisms from Charles University in Prague, and followed by a Master in Cellular and Molecular Biology of Plants. She joined Eva Benková’s lab in 2015 and studies the molecular mechanisms that coordinate plant organogenesis.

Julia Steiner obtained her Master of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Vienna and worked at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories as a junior researcher before joining Leonid Sazanov’s group at IST Austria. There, she conducts research on the structure of membrane proteins.

Stephanie Wachner graduated from Heidelberg University with a Master in Molecular Biology in 2014. She joined IST Austria in 2015 for her PhD studies, where, under the supervision of Daria Siekhaus, she investigates how immune cells can penetrate between two closely apposed tissues during their colonization of the Drosophila (fruit fly) embryo. She plans to extend her research to vertebrate systems.

Photo download: Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna © Michael Weinwurm / ÖAW