Postdoc Dr. Juliane Adler coordinates the Research Training Group of the Collaborative Research Center 1423 “Structural Dynamics of GPCR Activation and Signaling”. Today we introduce the 37-year-old in the series “Faces of the Leipzig University”, in which the university magazine regularly shows people who are behind countless small and large tasks at our university: in studying, in teaching, in university administration or – as this time – in research.
[written by Katrin Henneberg, Universitätsmagazin, 17.05.2023]
What was your dissertation project about and what did you want to find out?
I conducted research on the peptide amyloid ß, which is primarily associated with Alzheimer’s disease. A peptide is a compound of amino acids that can serve as building blocks for proteins. In this context, amyloid ß is a representative of peptides which, when “misfolded”, form so-called “amyloid fibrils”, i.e. abnormal structural states which are characteristic of various neurodegenerative diseases, among others. In my work, I modified a compound within the peptide that is important for structure formation and investigated the effects of this on local and global structure, dynamics and fibrillation kinetics using nuclear magnetic resonance and fluorescence spectroscopy. I was able to find that while the physical interactions I introduced certainly caused changes locally, the global structure was extremely robust to these perturbations.
How did you come to coordinate a research training group after your doctorate?
I myself did my doctorate within a Collaborative Research Center (SFB) and was a member of a graduate school there. At that time, I made great use of the continuing education program. This allowed me to exchange ideas with other doctoral researchers and build up a large network. I am still in contact with some of my fellow PhD students today, even though we work in different sectors and are spread all over Germany and internationally.
The coordinator’s work already fascinated me there, because he was able to professionally implement what I had already enjoyed doing during my doctorate. Bringing things together, organizing them, and still staying informed about the current state of research through the doctoral students and project leaders. So now, as a research associate myself, I have been coordinating the graduate school of the Collaborative Research Center 1423 “Structural Dynamics of GPCR Activation and Signaling” since March 2020, in addition to my own research and teaching activities. In addition to coordination, my tasks also include supporting the planning of the curriculum for the PhD students. This includes scientific modules, organizing workshops on topics such as “scientific writing” or “time and self-management” and planning summer schools. Regular PhD meetings are also part of this, where presentations can be rehearsed and important topics discussed.
For me, the most important thing about my job is …
… that the doctoral candidates see me as a contact person to whom they can come with their various concerns. Personal contact with each individual is very important to me. Since each person has different backgrounds and requirements, it is important to ask specifically about individual needs and wishes. These should be taken into account, if possible, in order to prepare doctoral candidates in the best possible way for their future career steps.
And the best thing about it…
… for me is the closeness to the doctoral students and the freedom I have in shaping my work.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Since I sit in the office during my working hours, I like to be in nature in my free time, whether on foot or on my bike. In May 2022, for example, I walked from Florence to Assisi to Rome, enjoying the Italian countryside. A walking vacation in Andorra is planned for this year.
I also enjoy reading a lot. From fiction to non-fiction, it’s all there.
What do you particularly like about the university and/or city of Leipzig?
Leipzig is my hometown. I was born here and have spent almost my entire life here. What I love about Leipzig is that it’s lively, but despite the city’s strong growth, you still have the feeling that everything is always within reach. There is a lot of green in the immediate vicinity and also in the city itself, and with the Neuseenland now also a lot of water for some time. If I don’t have to move away at some point, I just want to stay here forever.
Thank you very much.