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April 14, 2020

Two IST Austria postdocs receive FWF fellowships

New fellowships for immune cell response and nanotechnology research – FWF Lise Meitner Fellowships to Alba Juanes Garcia and Cheng Chang.

IST Austria postdocs, Alba Juanes Garcia from the group of Michael Sixt and Cheng Chang from the group of Maria Ibáñez, have each been awarded a Lise Meitner Fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for research into the structure and movement of immune cells and engineering of new thermoelectric nanomaterials, respectively.

Dynamic components of immune cell movement

IST Austria postdoc, Alba Juanes Garcia (Sixt group)
IST Austria postdoc, Alba Juanes Garcia (Sixt group)

Alba Juanes Garcia joined IST Austria firstly as a visiting scientific intern in 2015 before returning in October 2017 as a postdoctoral scientist after completing her PhD studies at the University of Madrid. Her research topic involves studying the dynamics of the cytoskeleton of immune cells.

“My research topic involves working on understanding the structure (or cytoskeleton) of the immune cells and how these cells navigate our body and change shape adapting to the environment as part of an immune system response. Basically, it is understanding the movement of cells and the underlying mechanisms behind this,” says Juanes Garcia. “I’m honored to receive the Lise Meitner Fellowship. It not only gains credence to the fact that the type of research that we are doing is important, but is also another sign of the growing scientific reputation of IST Austria.”

“Bottom-up” thermoelectric engineering

IST Austria postdoc Cheng Chang (Ibáñez group)
IST Austria postdoc Cheng Chang (Ibáñez group)

Before joining IST Austria’s Ibáñez group in October 2019, Cheng Chang received his PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Beihang University in 2019. His main research interests lie in fabricating and studying the properties of thermoelectric material — a type of material that can be used to convert waste heat back into useful electric energy. Chang’s approach is heavily experimental, which involves many hours in the lab using a “bottom-up” exploratory approach.

“I feel happy and encouraged by being awarded the FWF Fellowship. Our field is still relatively new, so it is highly motivating to receive this accolade,” says Chang. “Thermoelectric materials are likely to become increasingly important in the future.”

About the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Lise Meitner Fellowship grant

The FWF Lise Meitner Program is open to all postdocs who have been working continuously in Austria for less than two years and are residents of Austria for less than three of the past ten years. The primary aims of the program are to develop the careers of scientists that have chosen to reside in Austria and that significantly contribute to Austria’s scientific reputation by opening up new fields of research, establishing new research approaches, methods and techniques, and by launching new international collaborations.


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