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.”

Yasin Dagdas - GMI

Yasin Dagdas is a cell biologist and group leader at the Gregor Mendel Institute. His lab studies the role of selective autophagy in cellular quality control. Yasin believes that training and mentoring form the core of the Vienna BioCenter. His goal, together with his colleagues in the Steering Committee, is to create a stimulating ecosystem in which students can freely express themselves to make the next big scientific discovery.

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.

Alex Stark - IMP

Alexander Stark is a group leader and senior scientist at the IMP, interested in the regulation of gene expression. The Stark group uses an interdisciplinary approach, combining molecular biology and computational methods to characterize transcription-regulatory DNA elements and proteins. Alex represents the IMP in the steering committee with the aim to build a top-notch PhD program that attracts talented young scientists from all over the world and provides them with the very best PhD education to prepare them for their future careers in academia and industry.