Edgar-John Vogt is a German cell biologist and postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. As an advisor of the German Academic International Network (GAIN), he helps to promote the importance of mentorship for fellow researchers. Among his efforts, he co-organizes a mentoring and coaching workshop at the 2017 Annual GAIN Meeting in San Francisco.
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We asked Edgar a few questions about his work and experience in Germany:
- When did you know that you wanted to become a biologist?
I had excellent biology educators in high school and college, which strongly influenced me to become a biologist.
- What are you currently working on?
My current project investigates the impact and function of small vesicles in mammalian eggs. Vesicles, or ‘cargo bodies,’ transport molecules to the cell surface for specific physiological tasks. Learning about the vesicles’ involvement during fertilization is important to understanding certain aspects of human infertility. At the NIH I have the unique opportunity to interact with basic and clinical researchers working in reproductive medicine.
- What was the most “German” experience you have had?
I get together regularly with a group of fellow German researchers in Washington, D.C. in a group we call “Stammtisch.” It is a nice way of seeing friends, meeting new people and speaking some German – a very “German” experience.
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of working in your field?
With Big Data becoming more and more relevant, I recommend that students acquire skills in programming/coding.
- What advice would you give to North American students who are thinking of studying abroad in Germany?
Investing enough time to learn the German language is very advantageous. Students will also encounter the academic quarter (“c.t.”) at German universities, where lectures will start 15 minutes after the full hour, if not otherwise indicated (“s.t.”).
- What pictures, plants or unusual objects are there in your office?
I like to have a calendar on the wall next to my desk. My old German institute always sends me an annual calendar after Christmas and it is a nice reminder of the good time I had there as a researcher.
- Can you cook a German meal without a recipe? If so, which one?I like to cook Schichtkohl (cabbage leaves layered with ground meat), which was one of my grandmother’s favorite dishes when I was a child.
- Is there someone who has significantly inspired you in your career? If so, who and why?
I had the privilege of working with the world-renowned developmental biologist Prof. Andrzej K. Tarkowski in Warsaw, Poland. His passion for science and attention to detail was a true inspiration.
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