In this Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversation with Maria Leptin, digital participants had the chance to discuss and ask questions. The interview series provided an intense personal atmosphere, in which high-level guests, speakers and panelists of the Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 focused on their individual research, career paths and experiences. Falling Walls Breakthrough Conversations is supported by Klaus Tschira Stiftung.
European Research Council
Maria Leptin received her PhD in 1983 for work on B cell activation carried out at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland. She studied the development of Drosophila as a postdoc at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. She spent 1989-1994 as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany and became Professor at the Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, in 1994. She spent extended research periods and sabbatical visits at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), USA, the École normale supérieure in Paris, France, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at Hinxton, UK. In January 2010, Maria Leptin was appointed Director of EMBO, a post she held until 2021, and led a research group at the at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). In November 2021, she was appointed President of the European Research Council. Maria Leptin is an elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, the German National Academy, Leopoldina, the European Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. She is Deputy Director of the Christiane-Nüsslein-Volhard Stiftung, member of the selection panel for the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators, has chaired evaluation panels for ERC Advanced Investigator Grants, and Synergy Grants and serves on advisory boards of several academic institutions and selection panels for funding institutions.
For over a decade, Charlotte worked at Nature in London where she launched the Nature Video Channel on YouTube and worked on the award-winning Nature Podcast. Charlotte loves all aspects of science filmmaking including directing, interviewing scientists and working with animators. Her filmmaking highlights include a music video featuring all NASA Shuttle missions; a documentary about Leonardo’s anatomical drawings; and a video about our place in the universe. She enjoys covering all areas of science, but especially anything in space and stories that draw on her degree in the history of science from the University of Cambridge. Before working at Nature Charlotte spent two years teaching English in Japan. She now lives in Frankfurt where she juggles freelance work and young children.