What do you do every day?
I spend 70% of my time on the computer editing papers, writing grants, reading papers, answering emails, and about 10-15% on meeting with collaborators or students and staff either in the office or lab to discuss their science projects. There's an element of research and administration. I spend 30% on administration, including email work and face to face meetings. 5% on teaching and 65% on research. Administration involves counseling and coaching graduate students in many ways and it's truly rewarding.
Why do you love it?
I like it when I can make an impact on young people and help shape their path in science. Some of my research involves work on rare disorders and helping solve these problems is very rewarding. And of course, the amazing "aha" moments in science; not just the rare moments when you discover something, but when you read something and the whole picture fits together.
What were your moments of fear and challenges in your career?
My then-husband and I met as undergrads and worked together to get a masters, a phd, and postdoc but getting faculty positions together was very difficult. This was a unique challenge. Michigan is actually a great university that works to help spouses place together.
What are some of the latest innovations in science that you are most excited about?
Life science, especially biomedical science, is changing dramatically. It is becoming much more quantitative as we start to look at much larger data sets. Medical information is now computerized so what we now have is millions of data points that if linked appropriately can give new and unique insights. The big buzzword is "big data", we train people to deal with this kind of data set!
Where did you grow up?
Germany--mostly in the northwest of Germany. I went to undergrad in Berlin, I did my masters in Israel, and then my PhD in Heidelberg before moving to the US.
What is your unique talent?
Languages! I am learning Chinese and I'm conversational in it right now. That's the 12th language I have tried to learn, and I'm conversational in about 6 or 7.
Is there a current book or book you love?
I have many favorite books but this book is one of my favorites. It's called Yentl by Isaac Bashevis Singer. It's about a girl who loved to read and enjoyed books during a time when girls were not allowed to study. She dresses up as a boy to be able to study.
What is your favorite website or fun activity?
Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to connect with colleagues and friends.
Who inspires you?
What’s next for you?
I'm currently in China, and my current husband is here in China with me. I am finding a job in China to join him here as part time or full time. Possibly a sabbatical or a dream job! I'm completely open to new ideas and new options right now.