I did my PhD as part of the Bonn-Melb program. Since my main location was Bonn, I spent 2 years in Bonn (in the laboratory of Prof. Christian Kurts) and 1 year in Melbourne (in the laboratory of Prof. Dale Godfrey). During these 3 years I focused on the question what effect newly identified T cells, called mucosal associated T (MAIT) cells, have on the immune system, especially if they can be harnessed for vaccinations.
I am currently working as a Postdoc in Bonn in the laboratory of Prof. Christian Kurts where I also conducted my PhD. I plan to finish the research project I started during my PhD, but I also started new interesting research projects that are focusing on mucosal associated T cells during kidney diseases.
In my opinion the joint PhD program offered me a great opportunity in general. You get to know a different country in a special way since you live and work there for a decent time and you are also able to travel this country. It also helped to further my personal development and my research project also benefited from being able to join two labs in two different countries. I was able to go on conferences and workshops and learned a lot from both places and my supervisors from two different countries. I also met a lot of people during this time and now have a lot of friends in different places all over the world.
Of course, it was not always easy because there are also some challenging parts while doing your PhD in two different countries. First of all you have to meet the formalities of two different universities, which sometimes is very difficult. Second you have two supervisors, which can be good, because you get different opinions about your research, but it can also be difficult to find a date for meetings for example. Two different countries mean two different time zones and you cannot just walk over to meet all people. You also have to meet the expectations from two different supervisors, which can also be challenging sometimes. All in all, I think that the joint PhD program between Bonn and Melbourne University was a great opportunity for me personally, but also a valuable experience that will also help me for my future research career path and future employment.
"MAIT cell diversity, function and impact on dendritic cells"