Helmholtz PioneerCampus welcomes two Fulbright Fellows

‘Enhancing academic, professional and personal perspectives and thus fostering intercultural dialogue’ is the core mission of the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The bioengineering labs of Janna Nawroth and Matthias Meier at the PioneerCampus are pleased and honored to serve as prime destination and host for Austin Kellogg and Nicholas Whitticar, two recent Fulbright awardees. Attracting two Fullbright Fellows at once wonderfully testifies scientific leadership and rapidly growing international visibility of the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus. It fits perfectly to our core mission to accelerate breakthrough discoveries and entrepreneurial solution development in international partnerships and networks.

Austin Kellogg - from California to Bavaria

With a 2022 B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California, Austin arrived in Janna’s lab by September. "My project at the Pioneer Campus seeks to optimize the structural and phenotypic relevance of lung-on chip models – the focus and speciality of the Nawroth lab - to mirror more closely in vivo human lung functions.‘ Austin can build upon his previous experience, where he designed and constructed microfluidic systems for cardiac-on-a-chip models. ‚It is our vision to develop a platform for reproducibly model human lung diseases and enable drug testing in bona-fide human tissue", Austin elaborated on his research plans. He also wants to use his time in Munich to improve his German language skills by taking lessons at the TU-Munich. ‚For me, particularly cultural exchange is an important priority next to my research. I have therefore joined a gay men’s choir in Munich called Philhomoniker and I are regularly ‚out and about‘ with Munich‘S international students community" he adds.

Nicholas Whitticar – a Midwestern original in Munich

After a bachelor's degree in biology from Ohio University (2017), Nicholas joins as advanced Ph.D. candidate in the Translational Biomedical Sciences working in the lab of Dr. Craig Nunemaker. "Capitalizing on the Meier lab’s microfluidic expertise, my work aims at improving stem cell-derived beta cell functionality. Specifically, rendering these human-tissue derived cells to more robustly secrete insulin in response to glucose stimulation, may provide clues to treat particularly type 2 diabetes‘. Similar to Austin’s project, a streamlined workflow may also accelerate reliable compound screening under close to human physiological conditions, revealing an intriguing parallel and hence opportuity for synergies between the two Pioneer labs – sparked by US Fulbright trainees!

Beyond the science , also Nicholas wants to experience and get involved in his host country. "I gladly follow the tenet of this fellowship program to engage in cross-cultural exchange by taking German classes and volunteering for the Münchner Tafel," says Nicholas. It was this Fellowship that enabled him traveling to Europe  for the first time. He is convinced that the knowledge acquired, crucial professional links and personal relationships from social experiences will be most valuable for his career as future Principal Investigator.

We are pleased and thrilled about the first ‚Fulbrighter’s‘ among us, as both enrich and inspire our already extremely international and inclusive workforce and research culture. Please join us in wishing them a fullfilling time that broadens their scientific horizon and ideally turns both into future ambassadors of Europe, Germany and (Helmholtz) Munich upon their return to the US.

The Fulbright programme awards scholarships to around 8,000 students from the United States and 160 countries each year. Fulbright is unique in its binationality and is known for its merit-based selection process and academic prestige. Fulbrighters come from all backgrounds and are selected regardless of their race, colour, national origin, gender, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Helmholtz Pi­o­neer Cam­pus is an innovation campus with a startup culture at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. HPC stands for the intelligent fusion of biomedical sciences, engineering and digitization. Teams of top scientific talents from all over the world work together on the development of novel solutions that makes a difference in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. HPC aspires the values of Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), a physician and physicist, polymath and science pioneer.