Head of Department – HZG
Can you tell us about your studies? What scientific field did you specialise in?
Studies and PhD in Physics (Diploma on Neutron Activation Analysis and PhD on Spin Contrast Variation to study the Ribosome Structure). Habilitation in biochemistry Ribosome structure and RNA).
- Development of biocompatible implant coatings based on biological model membranes incl. tomography and reflectometry studies
- Investigation of biodegradable magnesium alloys and their influence on cellular metabolism incl. tomography studies.
- Structural and functional characterisation of peptide-membrane-interaction (peptide antibiotics, viral peptides) mainly by neutron and X-ray scattering.
- Classical contrast variation on biological and colloidal samples (magnetic nanoparticles, glycolipides, polymers)
Can you tell us step by step how you reached your current position?
I studied Physics in Hamburg and did a PhD in the Department of “Macromolecular Structure Research” headed by Heinrich Stuhrmann. After the defense of my thesis I planned to stay just a little longer to finish writing a paper about my PhD. I wrote job applications to industry and did not want to continue in science. But when I finally (more or less at first try) got a job as medical writer in a large international company I turned it down because in the mean time I had the chance to become Head of Department in 1997. Heinrich had decided to move on to Grenoble and my former Director of the Institute Richard Wagner found me suitable to do the job. So I stayed.
Have you got publications?
Currently 73 peer reviewed and 71 in non-peer reviewed journals or books. Numerous conference contributions.
What percentage of your time do you dedicate to your family/ work/ for you?
I am living with my partner and do not have children. 70% of my time goes into work, 25% of the rest into family and maximum 5% is left for me (however: family is also for me). I try to keep my life-work balance by committing myself to sports (dancing, running, sailing – only in summer), cooking and meeting my friends.
Who or what is your mentor or greatest inspiration?
My mentor was and still is Stefan Herms, a former director of GKSS, who helped me to develop my leadership style. My greatest inspiration is interdisciplinary work which I learned first in the HERCULES course. Nowadays it is the main driver of my current work: the development of better implant materials.
What is the most challenging thing you have faced in your career?
The most challenging thing was certainly to take over the position as Head of Department after my PhD Supervisor Heinrich Stuhrmann left to Grenoble. I was a normal group member for several years and should become the “boss” of my colleagues. That was really a problem for some of the elder group members. It became much better when after some time I had the freedom to choose my own co-workers and students.
Prof. Dr. Regine Willumeit
GKSS Research Center Geesthacht
Tel: +49 (0)4152 871291
Fax: +49 (0)4152 871356
Mobile: +49 (0)170 4316430