Since 2013 Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray holds an Einstein Professorship of Molecular Cell Biology at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin studying the conditions of the functioning of various cells. The biochemist studied in Zurich before conducting research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California in Berkeley. Before becoming a professor in Berlin Ann Ehrenhoder-Murray hold a professorship at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Please close your eyes for a moment and think about your research project. What do you see at first?
In the lab: a pile of agar plates, pipettes and beakers containing solutions. In the office: a computer, specialist articles, and lots of memos.
Who or what inspires you at work?
I need to communicate with my colleagues and associates at work and at specialist conferences, because talking and debating generates new ideas and approaches.
What characteristics distinguish researchers from other people?
On the one hand, you need incredible focus and precision to pursue a scientific problem for years on end. On the other, researchers also require creativity and lateral thinking if they are to come up with original solutions to a problem.
What do you think: Is there a true prejudice about researchers?
Scientists are often regarded as ‘nerdy’, and certainly in some cases that’s not far from the truth, because we scientists live in our own world with our own forms of communication, our own language. And we don’t always have a lot of contact with other sectors of society.
With whom would you like to exchange your workplace for one day, and what would you do then?
Sometimes I find the rate of progress in the lab too slow. Then I’d be happy doing something where you can spot solutions instantly, such as in medicine.