Speakers attending the Women's Careers and Networks Symposium 2021

Keynote Speakers:

    Prof. Dr. Erin Schuman

  • Director at Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany | Professor for Biology at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Talk title: A Fascination with the Neuron

  • I will discuss my career in science and my academic journey beginning as an undergraduate psychology student in California to my present life leading a lab in Frankfurt, Germany.  Over the past 25+ years I have worked with my fellow scientists to understand how neurons make, use and degrade proteins at synapses. 

    Prof. Dr. Eva Pellicer

  • Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  • Talk title: Tales from a materials science researcher - 'make it all happen'!

  • Building a (successful) research career might be difficult sometimes but if you add some key ingredients to your work like perseverance and venturesomeness, in the end you get there. We have to often fight against the gender bias still existing in the academic institutions and even against own fears and prejudices.

Session Speakers:
Session 1: Perseverance
The aim of this session is to draw inspiration from different journeys of determination and perseverance, and to understand how professional and personal transformations can contribute towards achieving success. Our speakers will share personal stories about lessons learnt, obstacles faced, and choices made in order to reach important career goals.

    Dr. Emma Camp

  • Discovery Early Career Researcher (Australian Research Council) | Chancellors Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia | Co-founder, Coral Nuture Program
  • Talk title: "I can and I will"

  • In my talk, I will discuss how my upbringing motivated me to pursue my dream job as a coral biologist. I will talk through the challenges, hurdles, and roadblocks as well as the motivators and opportunities that took me from unemployed through to now Deputy Team Leader of the Future Reefs Research group, National Geographic Explorer, United Nations Young Leader, and a Time Magazines Next Generation Young leader (2020). 

    Dr. Elisabet Prats

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Microelectronics (IMB-CNM-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain
  • Talk title: The perseverance is the key to success

  • Is not easy to grow in the science field if you are a girl but, in fact, is not easy for anyone to grow in the science field. The science world is complicated and is not easy to obtain permanent positions in Spain. But, should we defeat when we found some obstacles in the path? Should we stop encouraging other girls to be immersed in the science world if we already know the difficulties they will find? The answer to these and other questions will be held in the talk but, spoiler alert: the happiness is not to do whatever you want, is to want whatever you do, and we do science whatever the difficulties we find.

    Prof. Dr. Sarah Garfinkel

  • Professor of Clinical and Affective Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK
  • Talk title: Courage doesn't always roar: a personal tale of perseverance in science

  • This talk on perseverance will be an honest account of the different personal and professional hurdles I’ve faced throughout my career and the lessons I’ve learnt; from changing fields and imposter syndrome, to toxic academic environments.

    Karen Dolva

  • CEO and Co-Founder of No Isolation, Oslo, Norway
  • Talk title: Can technology be Warm and Inclusive, and how can we get there?

Session 2: Resilience
It is critical to learn more about the opportunities and challenges that one can encounter when establishing a career in academia, especially those that can impact the balance between our personal and professional life. Our speakers will explore the positive and negative aspects of gender differences in academia, as well as the impact of family and partnerships on career-related decisions through scientific data and personal experiences.

    Prof. Dr. Alessandra Minello

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Statistical Science, University of Padua, Italy
  • Talk title: Women in academia: before, during and after the pandemic

  • Academic women publish less, achieve higher positions less frequently, and have more interrupted careers than their male peers. Mothers, more than fathers or childless men and women, suffer these disadvantages. Women academics have to deal with the work-family conflict, the participation in both work and family roles are incompatibly demanding. The closure of childcare services and the impossibility to benefit from informal care made the pandemic a potential accelerator of these drawbacks. Academic work is basically incompatible with tending children. The topic will be discussed using quantitative and qualitative data to show gender differences in academia and the effects of the pandemic especially on academic mothers.

    Prof. Dr. Lucia Melloni

  • Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Department of Neuroscience, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Talk title: Growing up in academia as a family

  • Dr. Caspar Schwiedrzik

  • Head of Perception and Plasticity Junior Research Group, Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany | Independent Group Leader, Neural Circuits and Cognition Group, European Neuroscience Institute, Göttingen, Germany
  • Talk title: Growing up in academia as a family

Session 3: Versatility
Exploring the diverse paths taken by scientists from different fields can give us a better perspective of the potential versatility of our future career trajectories. Our speakers will talk about the personal and professional factors that led them to their current career paths, emphasizing on avenues explored and decisions made.

    Dr. Noushin Delmdahl

  • Head of Product Development - Lab Consumables, Sartorius, Göttingen, Germany
  • Talk title: Career Options in Industry for Scientists

  • Studying science normally does not come with a clear career choice and preference, mostly because you do not know what options are out there for scientists. In my presentation I will try to illuminate a potential path to a career in industry as a scientist. The focus is not necessarily on the research topics you have specialized on in the long years of your education but on skills you have picked up nevertheless working on your PhD. These skills make you fit and valuable, also for leadership positions in industry.

    Dr. Catharine Young

  • Executive Director and Chief Foundation Officer, Shepherd Foundation | Co-founder, Blueprint International & Supper with a Scientist
  • Talk title: Transforming broken systems

  • There is no doubt that becoming a scientist equips you with a plethora of skills and tools that transcend all fields. This talk will take the audience on a journey of how I went from a scientist performing bench work to building a movement to reform the broken healthcare system and will share how we all have the power to tackle large problems as scientists if we simply choose to not accept the status quo.

    Prof. Dame Frances Ashcroft

  • Professor, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, UK
  • Talk title: Life is full of surprises

  • A scientific life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good. I’ll discuss how I came to study ion channels and insulin secretion, how this led to a new therapy for patients with a rare form of diabetes, what I learnt along the way and how I coped with the inevitable difficulties. And I’ll explain how I came to write popular science books, act as science advisor for a dance/circus performance, and other outreach activities.

    Dr. Radhika Patnala

  • Founder and Director, Sci-illustrate, Munich, Germany
  • Talk title: The stories we tell

  • A brief view of the Women in Science initiative at Sci-illustrate Stories - our in-house passion project made with love, words, and art;  and more about Sci-illustrate’s founding and mission to change the visual landscape of the biotech industry, one story at a time.


  • Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel
    Former President of the University of Göttingen, Chair of the DESY Ethics Commission, Hamburg, member of various University councils

  • Prof. Dr. Gijsbert Stoet
    Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Essex, UK

  • Prof. Dr. Alessandra Minello
    Assistant Professor of Demography, University of Florence, Italy

  • Dr. Catharine Young
    Executive Director and Chief Foundation Officer, Shepherd Foundation | Co-founder, Blueprint International & Supper with a Scientist