People

Joachim Herz Foundation Travel- & Networking fellowship for Helmholtz Pioneer

Simon Wengert, PhD student in Na Cai's translational genetics group at the Helmholtz PioneerCampus has been granted one of the Add-on Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Life Science awarded by the Joachim Herz Foundation.

This fellowship recognizes the need for modern research to combine expertise form different fields and equips early career researchers with a generous funding package and networking opportunities to cross boundaries.

Simon joined the Pioneer Campus in 2020. He is interested in how DNA mutations in the mitochondrial genome contribute to human health and disease. In particular, he is interested how these mutations contribute to the onset of age-related and psychiatric disorders. Originally trained in molecular biology, Simon has already made the move to data science and currently mostly leverages computational tools. The support provided by the Joachim Herz foundation will allow him to expand his quantitative skill set and thereby take his PhD-project to greater heights by visiting collaborating groups in Israel and the US. Eventually, he is convinced that these experiences will allow him to shed light onto the biological factors & mechanisms responsible for some of the most common and devastating human diseases.

This early career recognition through the Joachim Herz foundation ‘allows me to visit labs not easily accepting visiting scientists, participate in international courses and travel to international conferences to engage with peers or identify a future post-doc supervisor. I am extremely grateful for this award that may prove crucial in determining my next career step’ says Simon. We sincerely congratulate Simon for this recognition and wish him all success – spurred by this recognition.

With the ‘Add-on’ Fellowship, the Joachim Herz Foundation aims to promote interdisciplinary research and support scientists in planning their careers. The fellowship is endowed with 12,500€ over a period of 24 months. In addition to funding programmes in medicine, the Foundation also promotes early careers scientists in economics, natural sciences and for personal development.

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.