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Meet Christian Schmidl

1.    Tell me in 5 words who is Christian Schmidl?
A “family-loving life-embracing science-preaching humorous individual”.

2.    What made you join CeMM?
After my PhD my wife and I went on a world trip for a few months to take this unique opportunity for a little break. However, I was pretty sure that I wanted to conduct a postdoc where I could combine my interests in sequencing technology and biomedical research, so I was looking for opportunities along the way. I interviewed for example in Brisbane, but unfortunately (or should I say fortunately otherwise I would not have joined CeMM) the lab I was most interested in was about to move to Europe at an uncertain time in the near future, and I did not want to start in the middle of a lab relocation. The second lab on my wish list could not provide bridge funding, but I would not want to lose more time waiting for a scholarship. After excluding the far end of the world for a postdoc, I was looking into other possibilities and found CeMM as the perfect place for a postdoc, closer to home. After visiting the institute and interviewing with Christoph and his group I knew that coming here would be a very good decision!

3.    What is it about science that interests you the most?
For me it is exciting to discover what no one has seen before. This happens at different scales every time you do new experiments or analyze new data. This is to some part an even childish curiosity I have when it comes to technology and molecular biology, and it additionally satisfies my wish to do something useful for the public as I can direct my passion towards medical relevant topics. Also, I love being creative and work out and try new ideas. If I only had the money and personnel to follow up on all of this… :)

4.    What is the best career advise you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?
Be honest to yourself when taking decisions.

5.    Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
I was given the opportunity to start my own group at the Regensburg Center for Interventional Immunology (now the Leibniz Institute for Immunotherapy). Since 2017 we are investigating immune cells in the context of cancer and immunotherapies, which I like a lot despite all the obstacles that you have to overcome when starting your lab and establish your own research program. At the moment we are 7 people (including me) that navigate through competition, pandemics, and bureaucracy, but also through interesting data, exciting collaborations, and lab celebrations.

6.    What book do you have on your night table at the moment?
“1984” by George Orwell. I somehow did not read it until now but was catching up on Orwell after my brother-in-law left “Burmese Days” at our place after a visit recently, which I also liked a lot.

7.    What is the last song you heard?
The Spotify “deep focus” playlist with noise cancelling headphones to get at least some work done with two kids at home during COVID and lockdowns…

8.    Any message you would like to give to the CeMMies or a former colleague?To the current CeMMies: Enjoy your time at CeMM and make the most out of it! Looking back, my life at CeMM influenced my current life as a scientist and beyond in a positive manner more than I expected when I set my foot for the first time in the building at Lazaretgasse almost 10 years ago! 
To my former colleague (and new PI at CeMM!) André Rendeiro: I take your word on your promise in the last alumni-of-the-monthletter! Now that you come back to Europe, there is no escape! See you in May, and bring a computer…

Christian Schmidl obtained his PhD in 2013 at the University of Regensburg (Germany) under the supervision of Michael Rehli, where he studied DNA methylation patterns in lymphocytes. After that he joined CeMM as a Postdoc in Christoph Bock’s group, where he developed and applied chromatin mapping methods to better understand molecular regulation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In 2017, Christian took the opportunity to establish his own research group at the Regensburg Center for Interventional Immunology, where he is studying gene-regulatory mechanisms in T cells in cancer.