Meet the Executive Board YEBN members. Amina Frese, Communication Officer of the YEBN

This month we interview our Communication Officer. As for the other Executive Board members we ask Amina about her motivations and vision for YEBN and hope to get to know her a bit better by asking about her personal experiences from her career so far.

Amina Frese started in the YEBN the past December 2018 taking up the role of Communication Officer. She studied Biology in Germany, but now lives in England and works as Postdoc in the field of Chemical Biology.

  • You are now in the YEBN executive board for the first year. As newly elected chair, what are your goals and hopes for YEBN in 2019?

My vision for the YEBN in 2019 is to grow network even further! I want to achieve this by engaging our young members and get them involved in activities from YEBN and our partner associations. I hope to achieve this through more social media presence and direct interaction with our members, for example in our LinkedIn group.

  • You have already made extensive experiences with different forms of associations. What, in your opinion, makes YEBN special?

I found YEBN because I was looking for an European network in which I can be an actively participate. YEBN offers exactly these two things, the combination differentiates our network from other associations: As the name already says, YEBN  is a European network with the emphasis on the European idea. The second very important fact is that everybody with a Biotech or Life Sciences background can get involved and be active member in our network.

  • What are your long-term visions for YEBN?

To become truly European, meaning getting members from every European country, that would be the ultimate goal!  And with every European country I mean geographically, still counting the UK to Europe 😉

  • What are you working on in your job?

I work in an academic research group with the focus on engineering enzymes for their use for the chemical synthesis. This is important to improve synthesis routes for pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals to make these processes, for example, more sustainable. We design and evolve artificial enzymes, which have not been found in nature, to further customise the application of enzymes in chemistry.

  • What is your favourite task in the lab? Is there a task in the lab that you dislike?

I hate adjusting to buffers to a specific pH, I guess I just really don’t like pH meters.

Now thinking about it, I like everything that is done by robots 😀 For protein crystallisation or high-throughput screening.

  • Please paste a lab humour cartoon in the space below which fits your character the most:
Illustration by PhDoodles

Too many negative results to cope with 😉

  • What would your job be if you wouldn’t work in life sciences?

If I could choose a completely different career, it would definitely be in the arts and creative sector. I would probably be a failed ballerina xD

  • What do you do in your free time?

I love to dance! I’ve been dancing since I am little and my absolute passion is ballet. I love dancing ballet, watching ballet or even just listening to ballet music.

  • Did you ever live / study / work abroad? Where? Please share your experience.

I am working abroad at the moment. I moved from Germany to England to do my PhD. I really enjoyed the time during my PhD here, so I decided to stay longer for a Postdoc. I can only encourage students to live abroad during their studies. Everything gets a new perspective when you live abroad or away from home and there is so much to  learn about other people and cultures, and most of all about yourself!

  • What are your plans (/ hopes / goals) for the future? Would you rather work in academia or industry?

I have worked in both and for me only it really only depends on the project I work on and the team I work with.  I must admit, I am not very good at planning my career, but I think a background in Biotech and Life Sciences gives many options for careers even outside the lab. I would find working in Science Policy or Science Communication very interesting.

  • Would you like to live abroad again and if yes, where and why?

Yes, because I still am 😀

  • Which is the most important thing you’ve learned until now and that you would give as an advice to others?

Don’t be afraid of change and don’t stress out when things don’t go as planned. Related to your career that means don’t be afraid of changing labs, changing fields or changing the expectations about your career and yourself. I learned this along the way by having different jobs, moving to a different city or country and working with many different people. And of course many things didn’t turn out as planned (or things just happened without planning), but it all seems to work out in the end.