May 2010

Member Spotlight

For our global science issue, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology asked three of its international members -- Ivan DikicArmando J. Parodi and Christopher J. Chetsanga -- to answer questions about themselves and about science in their countries. We will be featuring more of these spotlights in upcoming issues and online.  

Spotlight---DikicIvan Dikic 

Goethe University School of Medicine
Frankfurt, Germany

How long have you been an ASBMB member? 
I became a member of ASBMB in 2003 when I was elected as a member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board.

How do you feel ASBMB could best help young scientists in your country?
I think ASBMB is engaged in multiple international projects, including supporting young scientists who come to the labs in the U.S. for short visits and supporting students who attend ASBMB annual meetings.

What do you study?
We study ubiquitin-signaling networks at the biochemical, structural, molecular and genetic level. We are interested in understanding how ubiquitin signals control physiological and pathophysiological conditions in cells. 

What are some hot research areas in your country?
Biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience and chemistry historically are very strong research areas in Germany.

Where do you see research going in your country in 5 to 10 years?
I think science is undergoing a change in enabling us to address big, often technologically driven, projects. These projects are providing enormous sets of data and can describe biological processes with greater scale and resolution. Yet, much of the data is not yet used efficiently, and we can expect significant contributions from quantitative and computational biology in future.

Do you collaborate internationally? Are there any barriers to collaboration?
Yes. We collaborate with scientists all over the world and never have had any problems in establishing successful partnerships. Our aim is to bridge science regardless of the geographic location. It is all about being excited about our research, and if we can transfer the same enthusiasm to collaborators, the distance is not an issue at all.

Where do you get most of your funding?
Most of my funding comes from Deutsche Foruschung Gemeinschaft and different EU programs like the European Research Council.

How do you think research in your country differs most from research in the United States?
In Germany, there has been a continuous increase in investment in competitive science in the last decade. New changes introduced in the German science system helped identify the high quality research from quantity-based measures in science. This mostly is done thanks to the leadership policies of the DFG. They use very high standards in reviewing grants and programs, and the voice of scientists is very influential in shaping their future programs. 

Did you do any of your training abroad?
I was originally trained as a medical doctor at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, finished my doctoral and postdoctoral tenure at the New York University and then became a group leader at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Uppsala, Sweden.

Do you publish your research in non-English journals? 
I am a member of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and have published in their journal, BioSpectrum. In addition, I frequently write articles in Croatian newspapers and magazines about science and education of young talented students.

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