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Michael Juchum

Currently: Diplom student majoring in Biomedical Chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany (April 2007 – present)

Previously: Research project and report in the group of Prof. Sally Brooker at the University of Otago, New Zealand (September 2010 – February 2011)

The University of Mainz always encourages chemistry students to work in research groups in a University of a different country in order to gain useful experience in the matter of team work, language improvements and different working techniques. With the help of my supervisor Mrs. Prof. Eva Rentschler in Bioinorganic Chemistry and a scholarship from the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” I was able to work in the research group of Prof Sally Brooker.

My research project dealt with the synthesis of luminescent lanthanide probes in order to detect biomolecules (for example proteins) in a non toxic and non invasive way. It was my first long-term project and I really enjoyed my stay in Sally’s group. All members of the research group had different strengths but worked together as an effective team. Everybody was always prepared to help in answering questions and the kind and funny nature of the researchers created a very positive and productive working atmosphere. Sally did a great job in leading this fantastic research group with her positive attitude and engagement. She was always available for her students and had time for any questions and problems and I want to thank her for the possibility to work and learn under her supervision.

I improved my English language, especially due to scientific terms, as well as my lab skills. Furthermore I learned new working techniques and the use of an X-ray diffractometer and the validation of the X-ray data sets. Writing the report was good practice for my coming diplom thesis. The successful conclusion of my project also gave me the chance to start writing a paper.

Besides this I made a lot of new friends, both in the chemistry department and in my accommodation at Abbey College, and had lots of time to explore the beautiful country of New Zealand. Dunedin was a wonderful place to stay with the historical buildings, cosy pubs and the Peninsula with stunning wildlife. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I won’t forget these days.