Für die Wissenschaft. Für Berlin.


Maike Sander


Maike Sander ist Direktorin des Pediatric Diabetes Research Center und Co-Direktorin des Center on Diabetes am Institute of Engineering in Medicine der University of California in San Diego. Sie ist dort außerdem Professorin in den Abteilungen für Pädiatrie und Molekular- & Zellmedizin. Ihr Hauptforschungsinteresse ist es, die molekularen Mechanismen zu verstehen, die der Bildung und Funktion der verschiedenen Zelltypen der Bauchspeicheldrüse zugrunde liegen, insbesondere der insulinproduzierenden Beta-Zellen. In Berlin wird ihr Schwerpunkt auf der Etablierung einer auf menschlichen, pluripotenten Stammzellen basierenden Pankreas-Beta-Zell-Differenzierungsplattform zur Modellierung von Mechanismen, die der Pathogenese von Diabetes zugrunde liegen. 


Please close your eyes and think about your research project. What do you see at first?
Having a lively discussion with brilliant trainees and collaborators.

How would you explain your research to a child?
It’s like a puzzle where the joy is derived from connecting the pieces.

What is it that surprises people when you tell them about your research?
That I am not the one who is in the lab doing experiments (I don’t anymore).

With whom would you like to swap your workplace for one day? What would you do?
If it is for just one day, maybe with a professional athlete. Train, eat, sleep, and repeat. The singular focus would be nice for a day.

Is there any rather unusual hobby or talent you might want to share with us?
I raced bicycles and made the podium in the US Masters National Championships.

What did your research teach you about life?
It’s not all about the prize but about the joy you derive from the process.

What would your job be, if not a scientist? 
I always wanted to do something where I connect with people across the world. Being an ambassador or work as a journalist reporting on different countries would be exiting.

Which place in Berlin do you like the most, and why?
Mitte, because it is international and feels forward-looking. 

Is there anything about Berlin that you didn’t expect at all? And/or something that you miss here? What makes Berlin special for your research?
I like that Berlin is constantly changing. For research, the expertise and infrastructure that exists across universities and institutes within Berlin is outstanding. Further integration is a tremendous opportunity.