I am Dorothea Portius. I am German and since ~8 years I live outside of Germany.
Master Thesis in my home-country, Germany
I studied Nutritional Sciences/Medicine at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Technical University Munich. During my studies, I got interested in medical research and I was thinking to do my PhD.
I performed my Master Thesis in a lab working on diabetes and obesity in Munich. My supervisor suggested me to write my thesis in English in order to apply for a PhD position outside of Europe. So I did!
My PhD in Switzerland
I had my first interview in Geneva, Switzerland. The research topic, the lab and the PI gave me good impression. Although, it was my first job interview in English and I just took it as a kind of “practive”, two days after the interview I received a “YES”.
I moved to Geneva. It was an interesting time. Not only I got to know my limits as a graduate working on a huge research project (including a demanding boss), but I also learned how to work and to live in an international environment.
It was interesting to learn about the perspectives of other cultures, about the economy, the world and their daily habits. It is interesting how it changed certain personal perspectives and extended my way of thinking. I made really good friends in Geneva; it was an incredible experience.
My Postdocs in USA
At the end of my PhD, when I was thinking about my next steps, I was not sure what to do. I heed the advice of an old professor in Geneva and joined the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in California (San Diego) as a PostDoc. After two years there, I needed some changes and another PostDoc possibility opened up at another Institute in San Diego, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.