What is your current role? Tell us a bit about your research
I am a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sandra Siegert’s lab in the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA). We are interested in understanding the interactions between microglia, a highly dynamic non-neuronal cell type that resides in the central nervous system, and the different components (e.g., extracellular matrix and neurons) of the brain and retina. Coming from a statistical physics background, I develop computational approaches to analyze large-scale biological datasets, and elucidate the relationship between microglial morphology and their function.

Why did you choose to participate in the ASAPbio Fellows program?
I believe in the importance and potential of preprints to accelerate progress in science. Preprints are already being used to disseminate new research results that would have taken about a year more to be available in journals, and this approach needs to be normalized. Preprints can also be an avenue to put out negative results — a cautionary tale for scientists working in the same field of what could go wrong — which takes an even longer time to be accepted for publication. But more importantly, preprints are important not just for the scientific community but also for the curious public. Free access to research papers has the potential to better inform the public in matters regarding biology and medicine — two topics that have been crucial most especially in the last years. Joining the ASAPbio Fellows program allows me to be more proactive in putting my beliefs to practice.

What are you excited about in science communication?
Getting people outside the academic sphere excited about what we do and why we do it!

Ask me about…
…running and hiking trails around Vienna (Austria), NYTimes Mini Crossword, immersive video games, origami, and now, preprints!

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