Vienna BioCenter PhD Program Steering Committee

Pavel Kovarik - Director of the school (University of Vienna, Max Perutz Labs)

Pavel Kovarik is a biochemist by training and professor of immunobiology at the Max Perutz Labs, University of Vienna. His lab investigates the mechanisms by which immune responses are regulated, with a focus on transcription, mRNA decay and signaling. Based on his own experience, he regards a PhD as a key period of scientific training. “The PhD is a time of crazy scientific ideas, wild working hypotheses and broad experimentation, which together develop the capacity for conceptual thinking required from a mature scientist”. Pavel hopes that the alumni retrospectively perceive their PhD study as one of their most exciting life experiences, and indispensable for their career, whatever that may be.

Tom Leonard - Deputy director of the school (Medical University of Vienna, Max Perutz Labs)

Thomas Leonard, a biochemist and structural biologist, is a group leader at the Max Perutz Labs, Medical University of Vienna. His lab studies the mechanisms by which signals are transduced in cells with high spatial and temporal fidelity, with a particular emphasis on the role that membranes play in governing cellular switches. He says “A PhD is about intellectual freedom and creativity. There is no greater satisfaction than the conceptualisation and successful execution of an experiment that yields an unambiguous answer to a fundamental biological question.”

Silvia Ramundo - GMI

Silvia Ramundo is a group leader at GMI. Her lab studies the biogenesis and quality control of chloroplasts, essential plant organelles that help sustain life on Earth by harnessing solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars, releasing oxygen as a byproduct.

Silvia's commitment to serve on the PhD Steering Committee reflects her belief that a thriving academic environment is built on the nurturing and active engagement of its student community. She also recognizes that a team composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is better equipped to approach challenges from multiple angles and come up with creative solutions.

Julius Brennecke - IMBA

Julius Brennecke is a group leader at IMBA and believes that the culture of a research environment is instrumental for scientific discovery and for students and postdocs to develop out of the box ideas and careers. His motivation in the steering committee is to foster an inclusive, safe, yet ambitious research culture and, at the same time, to improve how we communicate these values to the outside in order to attract future talent.

Andrea Pauli - IMP

Andrea Pauli is a group leader at the IMP where her lab investigates one of the most fundamental transitions in life: how an oocyte transforms into an embryo. Andrea acknowledges that her success is largely due to her passion for science and the incredible mentors and colleagues who have inspired and guided her throughout her academic journey. Now, as a member of the PhD steering committee, she is determined to pay it forward. Her vision is to create an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment where the excitement for science is omnipresent and where students are empowered to excel in their research, discover their passions, and grow as scientists and individuals.