1. Tell me in 5 words who is Tatjana Hirschmugl?
Impatient / Emotional / Eco-friendly / Creative / Self-critical
2. What made you join CeMM?
An attractive job offer in an international research group with the perspective of learning many new techniques. To be honest I was rather keen on cancer related topics back then, but joining Kaan Boztug’s group really sparked off my fire for genetics! It was my first job after university and the work environment at CeMM has proven to be a truly fertile ground for personal and professional growth.
3. What is it about science that interests you the most?
Probably it started out with the curiosity and fascination for the invisible, complex world inside each living creature, which led me to study Molecular Biology. The fact that a huge amount of highly intelligent researchers all over the world try to dissect nature’s ingenious peculiarities – and thereby open up an equal amount of new questions – is simply stunning to me. Essentially, I love nature’s secrets and the fact that with combined efforts we can find puzzle pieces that fit together in a bigger picture and benefit our society.
4. What is the best career advise you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?
If things do not work out according to your expectations, change your perspective and try to think differently. You may not see an alternative path that is just perfect for you by clinging to what you imagine to be the only way to reach your goals.
5. Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
I moved from Vienna to Graz and started working as a technician in the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Lung Vascular Research while simultaneously starting a slow transition into what is my current profession – being a (very happy) freelance scientific illustrator.
6. What book do you have on your night table at the moment?
A travel guide for Romania since this is my next road trip destination. I’m looking forward to exploring a country which is geographically rather close but still so foreign to me, full of cultural heritage and endless natural habitats home to bears, lynxes and wolves!
7. What is the last song you heard?
The last song I actively listened to was 'Run Run' by a Georgian pianist named sTia (Natia Sartania). I discovered it randomly on the radio.garden website where you can scroll around the globe and discover music stations from literally anywhere. Try it out!
8. Any message you would like to give to the CeMMies or a former colleague?
Science is everywhere in our daily lives. But while scientific knowledge is very impactful, it is quite restricted to those who are familiar with its specific terminology. I believe that as a science community we have a responsibility towards society and should make our findings accessible to others. Therefore, I’d encourage you to find simple language and other creative ways in order to explain your research projects to anyone possibly interested, from kids to grandparents!
Having finished her studies in molecular biology, Tatjana was given the opportunity to gain her first work experience at CeMM in the laboratory of Kaan Boztug (CeMM Adjunct PI, LBI-RUD Director and CCRI Scientific Director). Working as a technician in the field of genetics of immune system disorders required constant development and adaptation to the advent of novel techniques. Being immersed in the multidisciplinary and intercultural ‘Think tank’ of CeMM certainly impacted her professional know-how and refined her critical mindset. Furthermore, her time spent at CeMM was the foundation of many unique and lasting friendships. After having left the institute she made a career transition by combining scientific interest with artistic passion and becoming a freelance scientific illustrator.