Introducing ZMB People - Nina Schulze
Dr. Nina Schulze
Core Facility Manager, Imaging Centre Campus Essen (ICCE)
Interview with Nina on July 24th, 2018
What brings you here?
After my diploma thesis, I was looking for a PhD position which is highly implicated in microscopy and here I found such a position in the newly founded group of Perihan Nalbant where I learned a lot about microscopy techniques. Luckily, after I finished my PhD thesis there was an open position as manager of the Imaging Core Facility ICCE at the ZMB which perfectly fitted to my interests and skills. I applied for this position and now I run the core facility for already more than four years.
What are you currently working on?
I’m the core facility manager of the Imaging Centre Campus Essen (ICCE) at the ZMB. In our core facility we help scientists to do advanced light microscopy. We have ten different light microscopy systems for all kind of techniques and we additionally help scientists to analyze their data, so that they can quantify and measure their outcomes.
So, usually I’m not working on an own project but I’m implied in all kind of different projects related to scientists or science at the ZMB. We also try to share our knowledge about microscopy and image analysis, so that scientists here can conduct their experiments on these light microscopy systems on their own.
What special skills are needed for your work?
In general, you need to have a good knowledge about optics, microscopy techniques and image analysis. And you need to be highly flexible: It is not always possible to plan your daily routine properly as problems or unexpected situations usually occur suddenly. And often you have to find creative solutions to problems. My tasks are very diverse and include consulting and supervision of scientific projects in the field of microscopy as well as more engineering related activities like minor repairs and adjustments of microscopes or administrative tasks like documentation and reporting.
What was a moment of success during your work?
Last year we successfully applied for funding for three different large instruments. During the last months, all instruments were installed and are ready to run now. This gives us the opportunity to establish and apply new techniques at the ICCE/ZMB thereby allowing to address new scientific questions. I think that’s one of the major things we achieved in the last years.
What didn’t work - what drove you nuts?
Very recently we had a hard time of finding a solution for the question how we can fit a 1,80 m table through a 1m door…
What do you enjoy doing science?
I especially like that there is a lot of variety in our daily routine and that it’s not like doing the same things all day long. You never stop learning new things and techniques. And you are allowed to ask and work on questions which might sound unrealistic at first.
What do you value here at the ZMB?
I really like the idea of having this different disciplines and groups from biology and medicine, and also chemistry in one institute sharing their knowledge and working together to solve scientific questions. And especially of course that the ZMB is supporting a lot of our microscopy initiatives. That’s a really big help for a core facility.
What do you value here in the Ruhrgebiet?
So, I like the people here in the Ruhrgebiet, I love their kind of special behavior. And that you have a lot of opportunities for sports and for all kind of different recreational activities.
Does science influence your everyday life?
Yes, it does. So, one peculiarity is that I try to understand how things work and ask really stupid questions until I really understand the smallest detail – also at home. But for me it is really helpful that most of the people of my family and friends don’t deal with science in their life.
How do you recreate in your leisure time?
I try to do a lot of sports and I enjoy diving a lot because it’s really quiet and it’s a good way to relax.
Interview, photos and video by Carola Schubert and Christian Denkhaus.
Copyright for all images and video: ZMB.