Internationality

Internationality

Almost half of the scientist working at TWINCORE are from abroad. More than 20 nations are working together here. An international scientific working environment is of concern to us at TWINCORE, because international influence enriches not only our translational science but also generates an inspiring, versatile environment for the people breathing life to science.

Internationality at TWINCORE means not only to welcome motivated and well educated scientists from all over the world, but also sending our german scientists to other countries. They come back with new insights and experience - on their way to become cosmopolitan researchers.

Personal international contact between young scientists fosters not only the personal development of single researchers. They are also basic for new, trustful cooperations with international partners. To work together on our aim to globaly improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases in humans.

Here we introduce some of our international colleagues to you:

“The opportunity to join an internationally renowned institution in infectious diseases attracted me to move to Germany for my PhD.”

Christopher Kesthely is from Canada. He first did his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences in Ontario between 2009 and 2013. He continued his education at the University of New Brunswick and obtained is Master’s degree in 2017. Afterwards, he came to Germany and joined TWINCORE for his PhD thesis. At the Institute of Molecular Bacteriology, he is studying the transcriptional regulation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the genes differentially regulated upon the entry into both stationary phase and biofilm formation of this pathogen.

“During my stays abroad I learned that some stereotypes about a country can be true, but more often they are not.”

Francisco José Zapatero Belinchón is from Spain. Already during his bachelor in Biology he spent time abroad in the US, Iceland and Germany working with human and animal viruses. He then specialized in infection biology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and returned to Germany to do his PhD at Hannover Medical School. In July 2019, he joined TWINCORE as postdoctoral researcher in the Viral Proteomics group.

“Germany has a great system of social support and universities have low tuition fees. This means everyone has the freedom to study what he or she wants to.”

Elmira Aliabadi is from Iran. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree there, she came to Göttingen to obtain her Master of Science in Molecular Medicine. Afterwards she discovered her interest in immunology during an internship in Tübingen and decided to come to Hannover for her PhD. Elmira is enrolled in the ZIB programme of Hannover Medical School and works in the research group Immunology of Viral Hepatitis and Infections in Liver Cirrhosis. 

“My two sons were born in Germany and go to school here now. The educational system in Germany is better than its reputation.”

Qinggong Yuan is a TWINCORE founding member. The physician came to Hannover in 2007 from China to do his MD thesis. He liked the conditions for research so much that he stayed here. Since then he is working in the research group Cell and Gene Therapy on different approaches for liver regeneration. This includes novel viral vectors as well as lipid-based nanoparticles.

“In science, it’s relatively easy to work wherever you want because there is always an international environment in research institutions.”

Julie Sheldon is British and did her Master’s degree in Liverpool. Afterwards she first moved to Hannover Medical School and then to Spain where she did her PhD. After a postdoc at Rockefeller University in New York, she joined the Institute for Experimental Virology at TWINCORE. She is trying to establish a mouse model for Hepatitis C infection by adapting the virus to mouse cells. 

“Diversity at TWINCORE is not only about the nationalities of my colleagues. They come from all over the world, but they also have different scientific backgrounds.”

Verónica Durán is a biologist from Colombia. She came to Germany in 2013 to obtain her Master’s degree in Molecular Bioengineering in Dresden. In 2015, Verónica joined TWINCORE as a PhD student and is now in her final year.  In the Institute for Experimental Infection Research she is working on nanocarriers for the treatment of Tuberculosis infections. 

“I enjoy organizing things and I am always happy when I can help my foreign colleagues with the planning or the reimbursement of business trips.”

Carolina Skowronek is the assistant of the executive director and of the safety management at TWINCORE as a substitute due to maternity leave. Furthermore she manages the Instagram and Facebook accounts of TWINCORE. Carolina is a native Hannover citizen, but her family is from Poland. One of her tasks is the coordination of appointments and the administration of business travels, where she gets in touch with many international employees and cooperation partners.

“When I first came to Germany, I was surprised to see that almost all shops are closed on Sundays and that you can only pay with cash at some places like the bakery in my neighborhood”

Yunus Kuijpers is both Dutch and Moroccan. He is a PhD student in the CiiM group Computational Biology for Individualised Medicine and recently came to Germany when his supervisor was appointed as a professor in Hannover. At TWINCORE he studies the evolution of the immune system. In one of his projects for instance he is coding software scripts to analyse DNA sequences with the aim to calculate the risk for certain diseases. 

“All my German colleagues at TWINCORE are very happy and helpful. This is quite the opposite of what I thought about Germans in Portugal.”

Bibiana de Fátima Correia da Costa studied Biology in her motherland Portugal and finished with a Master’s degree in Microbiology. After an internship in France she came to Germany to do her PhD at Hannover Medical School. For her thesis, she is investigating infection with human cytomegalovirus in myeloid cells in the TWINCORE Institute for Experimental Infection Research.

“Curiosity and creativity are key components of any scientific achievement. TWINCORE is all this and stands for diversity, community and cooperation. This is our way of doing science.“

Davide Faggionato is lab manager in the Institute for Experimental Virology at TWINCORE. The Italian studied Biotechnology in Padova and did his PhD in Molecular Genetics in Freiburg. After two engagements as a postdoc in the US at Emory University in Atlanta and Iowa State University in Ames he recently returned to Germany.

Scholarships at TWINCORE

At TWINCORE researchers from all over the world study and work - many of them come to us with high-level scholarships. Here you find selected examples for scholarships, that allow a research stay at TWINCORE.

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) is an european organization that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work. They provide scholarships for young scientists, who come from EMBO member states or want to work there. In any case, the scholarship holder has work in an other country than his study country.

The DAAD supports over 100,000 German and international students und researchers around the globe each year – making it the world’s largest funding organisation of its kind. We also promote internationalisation efforts at German universities, help developing countries build their own systems of higher education, and support German Studies and German language programmes abroad.

The Fulbright Program has international outreach, providing exchanges between the United States and over 160 countries and territories worldwide. Currently, fifty permanent commissions support the work of the Fulbright Program on the binational level, among them the German-American Commission. Annually about 8,000 scholars, American and foreign, participate in the Fulbright exchange. Since the inception of the Fulbright Program in 1946, it has sponsored approximately 310,000 scholars.

The largest and most varied of the Fulbright programs worldwide, the German-American Fulbright Program has sponsored over 45,000 Germans and Americans since its inception in 1952.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds is a public foundation - an independent, non-profit organization for the exclusive and direct promotion of basic research in biomedicine. It supports up-and-coming junior scientists whose research projects experimentally elucidate the basic phenomena of human life. It is supporting some 120 outstanding junior researchers at the same time around the world.