Team members

Dr. Dimitra Gkogkou

I have received a Ph.D. in Physics from the Technical University Berlin. Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher at Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences – ISAS e.V. Berlin in the field of nanotechnology and spectroscopy. From an early age, I have challenged gender stereotypes and, by entering the field of physics, I realized that gender biases exist everywhere, even in science.
I joined the I, Scientist team because I find the creation of support networks imperative and want to promote the public discussion on equality beyond gender, sexuality, class, and race.

Kristina Lovrek

I am a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at School of Analytical Sciences Adlershof – SALSA, Berlin. My research topic is on hybrid organic/inorganic materials for application in electronics and sensors and it is a collaborative project between Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences – ISAS Berlin, Humboldt University and HZB Institute for Photovoltaics. I hold an M.Sc. in Organic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Zagreb, Croatia.
I joined the I, Scientist team because I was looking for a way I could help empower women and actively contribute to the creation of an equal world. I want to be a facilitator of change and lead by example. I believe in the support and the positive encouragement of women, in the change of their perceptions about themselves and their abilities, in the alleviation of their doubts. After attending an inspirational I, Scientist 2017, I knew I found my way. My wish for the next conference is to be at least as successful as the first one.

Monique Donnert

I am a Ph.D. student in Hannover, working since 2015 at the TWINCORE – Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, investigating antibiotic resistance/tolerance mechanisms of the biofilm forming bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
After school, I first tried my hand at journalism – but since I wanted to use more my analytical traits and was always fascinated by the very “little“ things, I started to study Biology and later on Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Rostock. During my undergraduate studies, I originally did not intend to proceed in research in natural sciences due to financial and socioeconomic issues. However, my interest in biofilm forming bacteria grew stronger and I decided to continue with research as a Ph.D. student. Within this progress, I became particularly sensitive to gender-specific biases and disadvantages of minorities (e.g. non-academics, LGBTQ scientists), especially in the area of scientific research and work in STEM fields. With my graduation coming closer, I am more and more realizing that women are (still) less likely to take part in natural sciences and facing obstacles in getting higher job positions.
Eager to not simply accept these conditions, but to engage in dialogue with others – both women and men – I became a member of the Lise-Meitner-Gesellschaft e.V. in 2016 and attended the first conference this year. Impressed by this great event, I joined the I, Scientist team thereafter wanting to contribute in providing a platform for the visibility of powerful women that, in turn, will hopefully inspire and motivate young exceptional researchers in their future career paths.

Dr. Rula Tabbash

I am a theoretical particle physicist and a mother of three children. I received a Ph.D. in the Theory of Elementary Particle Physics from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS) in Italy, where I worked in the field of Physics of Large Extra Dimensions. Afterwards, I joined the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Lausanne (ITP) in Switzerland for two years. Following maternity break, I received a postdoctoral fellowship from the “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction” (CliSAP) Cluster of Excellence, Universität Hamburg, where I currently work at the Institute of Oceanography on climate modeling. My previous degrees include a Diploma in High Energy Physics from Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy, as well as a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Aleppo in Syria.
I joined the I, Scientist team because I believe that more can be done to improve gender equality in STEM research fields in general and to better understand the reasons behind the decoupling of women scientists from academia during the postdoctoral stage in particular.

Jinhua Liu

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. I hold an MSc degree in Bioinformatics from Beijing Normal University. I am a member of the Lise-Meitner-Gesellschaft e.V. and the co-organizer of the MPAA China (China-based Max Planck Alumni Association Network).
I am co-organizing the I, Scientist 2018 conference because I wish to offer help to female scientists, especially Ph.D. students. I want to make their problems visible, e.g. difficulties of career choice and networking, and support them to obtain the inspiration from role models, with the hope of achieving some solutions.

Bachir Bibouche

I am a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at Technical University Berlin. My work is in the field of Industrial Chemistry. Outside of chemistry, I am fascinated by the field of gender studies, especially the intersection with natural sciences. I, Scientist 2017 event was, therefore, a perfect fit for me, and I was amazed by how well it was done. This is why I decided to join the I, Scientist 2018 organizing team and become a part of the process.

Dr. Laurianne Vagharchakian

I am a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. After acquiring my Ph.D. in Physics (Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris), I extended my interest in the understanding of complex systems in physics to the complexity of human cognition. I have been in Berlin since 2013 and discovered that most women in Germany choose to either have children or to pursue a career. I joined the I, Scientist team to help convince women that having both having a family and pursuing a career is possible!

Anja Gerbes

I hold a master’s degree in Computer Science from Goethe University Frankfurt. During the work on master’s thesis, I improved my knowledge in high-performance computing (HPC). Performance optimization was very exciting, so I wanted to explore this field further.  I currently work at Center for Scientific Computing at Goethe University Frankfurt, and I am enrolled as an undergraduate physics student at the same university. I am also a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at German Climate Computing Center, Hamburg. During my studies in computer science, I noticed the more technical the subject becomes, the fewer women were to be found in this area. I would like to change this. For me, it is important to let gender equity become normal in every part of life. In the past, I have organized events like  IT-Girls’ Night in Computer Science and Girls’ Day in Physics for girls of age 12-17.  I am currently a member of equality council at the Physics Department of Goethe University Frankfurt.

Dr. Sana Amairi Pyka

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin working on the development of ultra-stable lasers for applications in quantum optical metrology and responsible for advanced lab courses. I received a Ph.D. at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig, and the Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover. Before that, I received a master’s degree in Physics from the University of Paris-Sud XI, Paris, as well as received earlier diplomas from Tunisian universities. I am a member of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft – DPG since 2010 and of the Lise-Meitner-Gesellschaft e.V. since 2017, as well as other humanitarian organizations such as the Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V.
Since having my first child, I started to feel the difference between my working conditions and those of my mostly male colleagues. After attending I, Scientist 2017, it became clear to me that I should be actively involved in improving the working conditions and providing equal opportunities for female scientists, and particularly to those with highly demanding responsibilities. Thus, I joined the organizational board of I, Scientist 2018.

Dr. Ana Valenzuela Zapata

Recently, I completed a programme in Medicine Development Sciences at the Free University of Brussels. Before that, I received an M.Sc. and MBA in Agronomical Engineering, a Ph. D. in Biological Sciences in Mexico, and was a Professor at University of Guadalajara, Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Monterrey (ITESM) and Inst. Tec. de Est. de Occidente (ITESO). Since 2008, I have lived in Europe and held two postdoctoral positions – one on Geographical Indications and Biodiversity (Ghent University) and the other in the History of Asiatic Distillation and Biodiversity (Charité, Berlin). I have a background in academia, industry and non-governmental organizations, a career as a leading researcher in tequila, mezcal pro and pre-biotics in agave plants.  I was awarded by University of Arizona as the first recipient of Howard S. Gentry for Binational Collaboration Research (2017). Since 2015, I started with networking and seminar activities with Latin American researchers. I am a co-founder of  SIEMPRE, an NGO for women scientists and STEM education.
I was convinced to join the  I, Scientist team because the world needs more women in science, with fewer disparities between genders and more role models.