The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.
DNALC West Manager
I grew up in the southern part of the small and sleepy country called Austria, surrounded by beautiful glass-clear lakes and rivers and incredible mountainous ridges. Spending my whole childhood in the wilderness of the alpine flora and fauna had an enormous impact on my interests: I routinely collected plants for my herbarium and studied their anatomy by drawing detailed pastels. But I also loved to cook, preferably with wild edible herbs and home-grown vegetables and fruits (my Achilleum millefolium, almond & lemon pesto is still highly requested).
I saw myself as a biologist and finally moved to Vienna to study biology. The curriculum was surprisingly lengthy and uninspiring. I therefore seized every chance to gain experience in field work, like at the field station in the Rainforest of the Austrians in Costa Rica and in a study to detect pollinators for endemic orchid species in Crete. Internships in labs and companies affiliated with biochemistry and applied microbiology broadened my technical experience. Fortunately the compelling logic of genetics sparked my interest, leading me to several years in laboratory research. I graduated from the University of Vienna with a Master of Sciences degree in microbiology and genetics for investigating the role of a particular protein involved in RNA splicing during replication in yeast. For my Ph.D. thesis in genetics at the Max. F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, I worked with a unique stem-cell mutant of the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana, showing how one gene acts as a key-regulator of stem-cell activity and subsequently leaf initiation.
By this time my interaction with students had already become an intellectually fulfilling aspect of my experience in science. In the lab I aided graduate students with their research projects and I was a tutor for the Vienna Open Lab – sponsored by dialog<>gentechnik, Vienna, Austria – which is a program designed to give students and adults formative experiences in science. Over several years I also developed and coordinated workshops for wienXtra in Vienna. The integrated nature of these courses allowed the participants to use basic knowledge about biochemistry and biotechnology to develop innovative recipes that were tested in soap-boiling workshops.
As an educator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center, I look forward to the opportunity to teach comprehensive and well-illustrated courses in genetics and cell biology and assist students and teachers in addressing and solving challenging questions. I enjoy working close to world-class scientists and being part of a truly inspiring team. Teaching the "budding scientists" is only the beginning of the game, not the conclusion.