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Here, you get a first tiny introduction to our new fellows in 2021!

Rui: Works on smartphone usage and psychological wellbeing

Dr. Rui Sun © Dr. Rui Sun

Hi, my name is Rui Sun. I was born in China but have been living in Europe since 10 years ago. I am a social psychologist with wide research interests including smartphone usage, social media, social connections, and psychological wellbeing. For the WiRe fellowship, I will work on smartphone usage and psychological wellbeing among couples.
I got my previous postdoc training at the Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam (UvA), working on positive emotion experience across cultures. Before joining UvA, I completed my PhD in social psychology at the University of Cambridge, my MRes of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, and my BS in Psychology at Peking University. 

In my spare time, I love doing all sorts of sports; my new hobby is windsurfing 🙂

Mariagiulia: Exploring EU and State responsibility beyond borders

Dr. Mariagiulia Giuffre © Dr. Mariagiulia Giuffre

Hi, my name is Mariagiulia (Giulia), I’m Italian and I work in the UK. Though I love warm weather, I have spent many years in cold countries (Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, and now Germany)!

My research? Let’s say that to limit onwards movements of migrants and refugees to Europe, the EU and its Member States have increasingly opted for a strategy based on the full externalisation of migration and border controls, mostly through dedicated financial and technical support to third countries of origin or transit in Africa. European States are also preventing arrivals by means of non-rescue or delays in the succours of migrants in distress at sea. What responsibility do States have in case of human rights violations committed beyond their territorial borders? What is the content and scope of the right to life?

Anna: Wants to know what makes a plant happy

Dr. Anna Podgorska © Dr. Anna Podgorska

I was born in Warsaw (Poland) but I went to school in Hamburg (Germany). Then I moved back to Poland and received my PhD in Biology. After a few more years of work, I’m now back for a short visit in Germany where I’m getting to know Münster. The research group that welcomed me here is called “Plant Energy Biology” which is similar to my home laboratory called “Plant Bioenergetics” and therefore joining our powers together makes sense. These terms also reveal my research interests, which are based on the energy that drives metabolism including redox chemistry, oxidative stress and intracellular signaling. Here I can make use of specific biosensors to get insight into what is actually happening in vivo in plant tissues.

Let’s say I can trace what a plant is feeling or if it is stressed. Based on changes in redox state, I want to know what is the preferred source of nitrogen to feed to a plant. If a researcher is using the wrong nitrogen fertilizer, a lot can go wrong; its metabolic disturbances are is still not fully understood. False nitrate application causes a lot of ecological problems and can be dangerous for human health, while ammonium leads to plant growth suppression. In the end, everything comes down to maintaining sustainable agriculture.

Fun fact: I know how plant metabolism works on an organelle scale but I can’t help you with your Monstera turning yellow, and can’t make your tomatoes produce more fruits.  

Debdatta: Works on building the world’s thinnest optics

Dr Debdatta Ray. © Dr Debdatta Ray

I am Debdatta Ray and I am Indian by origin. My life seems like “Comedy of Errors” as I am continuously mistaken for a guy since my name is similar to both genders!! 

Nevertheless, similar to my native country, my academic career boasts of diversity as well. I started out my Bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication Engineering in Kolkata, situated in the eastern part and the 3rd largest metropolitan city in India. I continued to do my Master’s in Photonics at the Indian Institute Of Technology, Madras (IITM), a city on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. During this time, I had my first interaction with Germany as I had spent 7 months at the University of Stuttgart in DAAD Exchange Scholarship. For my PhD, I moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, a country also known as “heaven on Earth”. 

My research aims to build the world’s thinnest optics!! I work on patterning hundreds of micrometer sized area with nanometer sized structures and investigate the effects as light of different colours fall on them. This requires very special environment called “clean room” where the air is almost dust free. 

It’s our very favourite time to get outside and enjoy Münster. Quick, while the sun is still shining!

In Münster, Summer is the season with the most rainfall all year around. But don’t worry – despite Münster’s perception as a rain-laden city, Summer is also the season with the highest average of daily sunhours. So enough time to get outside and enjoy the city!

Blooming daffodils, chirping birds and rising temperatures – Winter is over, Spring is here!

Who doesn’t love the first warm and sunny days of the year? When you cross the threshold in the morning expecting it to be cold outside but then you’re breathing the fresh but gently warm spring air.
In Spring, Münster appears in a completely new light. Once the city rouses from its hibernation, there are colorful spring flowers all around and trees are slowly turning green with the growth of new leaves. It’s also the season with the least rain which encourages people to head out into nature and evokes the feeling of spring at the end of a long winter.

However, we’re at WIRE are celebrating ace research by women in science every single day: We’re blown away by Kornelia’s efforts in tackling ovarian cancer by utilizing the so-called SPOCK1 protein as well as Joana’s attempts to better monitor wildfires in tropical ecosystems form above the ground via satellites. Carla’s efforts as an experimental petrologist to better understand what happens pressure-wise deep down underneath volcanoes are stunning. Also we’re amazed by Madalina’s important insights into nature narratives and why, in the context of climate change, there is an urgency to reflect on how nature and gender are narrated in our medicalized, patriarchal societies.


About…

Blogging… © WiRe / Nikolaus Urban

We are happy you made it to our blog! Astrid, Niko, Katharina, Ally and some wonderful WiRe-postdoc ladies are blogging here – mostly twice a month…depending on what else we have to get done:-). We are part of the „WiRe – Women in Research“ -Team of the International Office / Welcome Centre of the University of Münster.


WiReWomen in Research is a Fellowship programme for outstanding junior female postdocs at the University of Münster in Münster, Germany. Read, see and listen with what passion and persistence our fellows pursue their exciting research projects at the WWU and how they explore Münster!

Come and meet our fellows! Let’s start with a small riddle about them: our

Who is who and who does what?

Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, German Studies, History, Biology, Medicine, English Studies, Law, Philosophy, Mathematics, Theology and, and, and …….at the University of Münster there are very many scientific fields – and researchers from just as many countries contribute to their advancing. What is true on a large scale is often true on a small scale: No wonder that our WiRe-Fellows Anna, Angélique, Chiara, Maria, Giulia, and Rehana come from different countries and conduct research in very different fields. Can you guess who is from which country? And who does research in which field? And can you guess where our fellows last conducted research before coming to Münster? We asked our ladies for some hints on these questions to help you:

Dr. Lamaze alias Angélique

Let’s see what Angélique associates with the place where she grew up: “It’s easy. I would say: carnival, rocket, giant turtle (luth turtle).” All right. Do you have a clue? It might be easier to guess where she currently lives: “Pubs, parks, and marmite” are typical for the country, according to Angélique. So far so good. Now let’s see which repetitive activity is part of her research:

“Every morning I’m looking for virgins …”

says Dr. Angélique Lamaze.

“…then I decide on the crosses I can do. To monitor the locomotor activity I load them in glass tubes and place them in monitors. To look at neurons in the brain, I dissect brains under binoculars using tweezers. I also have to take care of my own stock as well as a part of the common stock”. Well, can you guess what living creature she is talking about? The fact that Angélique hears the sounds coming out of a radio in her work environment probably does not help much. But what about the other two devices that make noises: fridges and incubators. Everything clear now? Well, Angélique also mentioned that her research has to do with light, temperature environment and neuronal networks. Does it ring a bell?

Dr. Marotta alias Giulia

Dr. Giulia Marotta

…. links her homeland to seaside landscapes, the Sixtine Chapel and Vespa mopeds. The country she has been researching recently reminds her of „baseball, hot dogs and Thanksgiving turkey“. Quite easy to guess where she is from and where she last conducted research, isn’t it?

Now we come to the more difficult part…When asked about a repetitive activity that she has to do again and again in her everyday research life, Giulia couldn’t think of any. But she has discovered the following pattern:


“Very often I accidentally come across a source that I consider really irrelevant for my current research. Hence, I take no note about it. Then, weeks or months afterwards, as my project evolves, I remember about that source and I realize that it was really relevant for what I’m working on. But now in order to find it again I have to retrace all my research itinerary over the past few weeks or months.. Not easy at all to find one or two sentences that you read only once and while you were reading a million other sentences…“

Dr. Giulia Marotta


The noises in Giulia’s work environment might also give a clue: Giulia knows the sound of flipping pages, opening and closing of archive drawers too well! So, do you have any idea what Giulia’s field of research is? If not yet, these keywords that she associates with her research should certainly help: modernity, religion, narratives. Well, do you have an idea now?


Dr. Ferreira alias Maria

Dr. Maria Laura Ferreira


“Mate, gaucho and tango …”


… were the things that came to Maria’s mind when we asked about three things she associates with her home country. Well, she also has a food-focused memory of the country where she last went for a research stay: she remembers “tea, breakfast and … a queen”. That’s an easy one, isn’t it?

Asked about three things that characterize her research, Maria gave us terms that we couldn’t understand at all. Maybe you are better at seeing clues in them: “inoculate, autoclave, isolated”. We were slightly more familiar with the sounds of her working environment: the whistle of gas flowing, the click of keys typing, timer alarm, fume hoods and the sounds of refrigerators… Did you already get any idea what Maria’s research topic might be? Perhaps these keywords will help you further: “ubiquitous polysaccharides, aquatic environment, microorganisms, small pieces of plastic debris, non-biodegradable materials“. So?