Mentoring Program

The ASciNA Mentoring Program (AMP) is generously supported by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna, the Technical University of Graz, and the Technische Universität Wien. This program seeks to develop a mentoring framework, where established Austrian scientists/scholars and professionals provide guidance, experience and knowledge to early career researchers from Austria.


MENTORING PROGRAM 2018/19:

The three mentoring pairs sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Stephan Salzmann (Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine) – Mentor Christoph Hofstetter (UW Medicine)
  • Mentee Thomas Zelniker (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School) – Mentor Gerd Brunner (Baylor College of Medicine)
  • Mentee Christoph Kraus (National Institute of Health) - Robert Schwarcz (University of Maryland, School of Medicine)

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technical University of Graz is:

  • Mentee Vera Novy (University of British Columbia) – Mentor Martin Polz (MIT)

The three mentoring pairs sponsored by the Technical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Paul Werginz (Harvard Medical School/MGH) – Mentorin Jana Kainerstorfer (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Mentee Monika Pichler (Northeastern University) – Mentor Chris Marx (Oberlin College)
  • Mentee Nikolin Oberleitner (UC Berkeley) – Mentor Clemens Dürrschmid (Case Western University)

MENTORING PROGRAM 2017/18:

The two mentoring pairs sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Sabine Heitzeneder, Stanford University - Mentor Gerlinde Wernig, Stanford University
  • Mentee Johannes Kovarik, Vanderbilt University - Mentor Wolfgang Winkelmeyer, Baylor College of Medicine

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technical University of Graz is:

  • Mentee Anita Emmerstorfer-Augustin, UC Berkeley - Mentor Wolfgang Peti, University of Arizona

The three mentoring pairs sponsored by the Technical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Magdalena Klemun, MIT - Mentor Friedrich Prinz, Stanford University
  • Mentee Michael Fink, Harvard University - Mentor Christoph Haselwandter, USC Dornsife
  • Mentee Arnold Päcklar, Colorado State University - Mentor Peter Hosemann, UC Berkeley


MENTORING PROGRAM 2016/17:

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna is:

Mentee Lukas Landegger, M.D.

In 2011, Lukas Landegger obtained his medical doctorate at the Medical University of Innsbruck. After his subsequent military service, he started a PhD in the Clinical Neurosciences (CLINS) program at the Medical University of Vienna. His specialty is ear, nose, and throat (ENT) with a focus on hearing research. Since 2013 he has been performing research in Boston at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School. His mentor is Oliver Adunka.

Mentor Oliver Adunka, M.D.

Oliver Adunka received his medical degree from the Medical University of Vienna in 1999. From 2000 to 2004 he completed his residency with the department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, followed by a two-year fellowship in Neurotology and Lateral Skull Base Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. He currently is a Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery and serves as the Division Director at The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, OH. Further, he is the director of the Pediatric Hearing Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His clinical practice includes all aspects of otology, neurotology, and cranial base surgery and he has a special interest in auditory implants including adult and pediatric cochlear implantation.

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technical University of Graz is:

Benjamin Marussig, PhD

Benjamin Marussig received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Civil Engineering Sciences from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). In 2015 he obtained his Ph.D. by researching Seamless Integration of Design and Analysis through Boundary Integral Equations. His thesis was awarded the “Dr.-Klaus-Körper-Preis” by the German association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM). Currently, he is a PostDoc at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on numerical simulations, especially isogeometric analysis. His mentor is Christian Linder.

Christian Linder, PhD

Christian Linder started his scientific career with a Dipl-Ing. degree in Civil Engineering from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in 2001. This was followed by a M.Sc. in Computational Mechanics from the University of Stuttgart (2003), a MA in Mathematics (2006), and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (2007) - both from UC Berkeley. From 2008 to 2012 he held a position as Junior Professor of Micromechanics of Materials at the Applied Mechanics Institute in Stuttgart - Habilitation in Mechanics in 2012. Currently, Christian Linder is Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and is principal investigator of the Micromechanics of Materials Lab.


MENTORING PROGRAM 2015/16:

The three mentoring pairs sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna are:

Mentee Julia Wilflingseder, PhD

Julia Wilflingseder studied Biotechnology and Environmental Technology at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria. In 2010 she received her PhD in Natural Science/Biophysics from the Johannes Kepler University (Linz, Austria). During her PhD and early PostDoc phase she focused on genetic and clinical epidemiology in kidney disease in the group of Prof. Dr. Rainer Oberbauer at the Department of Nephrology, Medical University Vienna (MUV). Since 2014 she is a PostDoc at the Bonventre Laboratory of Kidney Injury and Repair, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Her mentor is Harald Ott.

Mentor Harald Ott, M.D.

In 2000 Harald Ott earned his M.D. at the University Innsbruck, followed by a residency in the Department of Surgery. From 2004 to 2006 he did basic research at the University of Minnesota, Center for Cardiovascular Repair. He is now a thoracic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor in Surgery at the Harvard Medical School. Since 2008 he is also head of his own lab. His specialty is whole organ regeneration through reseeding and engraftment with native cells (decellularization). In 2013 he received the ASciNA “Principal Investigator” Award for his scientific publications in Nature.

Mentee Patrick Brunner, M.D.

Patrick Brunner is an alumnus of the Medical University of Vienna (MUV), where he received his M.D. degree “summa cum laude”. In 2007 he started his residency in Dermatology and Venereology at the Department of Dermatology at MUV, becoming an assistant professor in 2015 (currently on professional leave). He is now taking part in a Clinical Scholar’s Master’s Degree Program at The Rockefeller University, in the Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology. His research focus lies in the field of inflammatory skin diseases, especially psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. His mentor is Dietrich Haubenberger.

Mentor Dietrich Haubenberger, M.D.

Dietrich Haubenberger received his medical degree, as well as training as neurologist, at the Medical University of Vienna (MUV). From 2008 to 2011 he completed a research fellowship at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, MD. Since 2014 Dietrich Haubenberger is Staff Scientist and Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the NINDS Intramural Research Program. His research focuses on the area of movement disorders, especially tremor disorders.

Mentee Gregor Werba, M.D.

In 2013 Gregor Werba graduated from the Medical University of Vienna (MUV), where he developed a strong interest in immunology. He briefly held a position as a research assistant at the Department of Surgery at MUV until moving to the United States. Since 2015 he is a research scholar at the S. Arthur Localio Laboratory, Department of Surgery at NYU Langone Medial Center in New York. He is currently focusing on the role of innate immunity mediating pancreatic inflammation and driving the inflammation-cancer paradigm. His mentor is Mariella Gruber-Filbin.

Mentor Mariella Gruber Filbin, M.D., PhD

Mariella Gruber Filbin graduated from the Medical University of Graz in 2004, sub auspiciis praesidentis - a Presidential Award for the highest academic achievement in Austria. Two years later she completed her PhD - also with highest distinction. From 2006 to 2008 she did her clinical residency at the Medical University of Vienna, Department of Pediatrics. Afterwards she worked for three years as a Postdoc at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MA. From 2011 to 2013 she completed a Residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital. Since July 2013 she is a fellow in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital und Dana-Farber Cancer Center. Her research focuses on pediatric brain tumors, especially glioblastoma and other high grade gliomas. She is a recipient of various awards throughout her career, also of ASciNA’s "Young Scientist" Award 2014.

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technical University of Graz is:

Mentee Birgit Ploier, PhD

Birgit Ploier received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry (2008) and her master’s degree in Biotechnology (2010) from the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). During her master’s studies she was awarded an Erasmus scholarship which allowed her to study at the Sheffield University, UK for one semester. In 2014 she completed the PhD program “DK Molecular Enzymology” at the Institute of Biochemistry at TU Graz, studying molecular enzymology of lipolytic enzymes in yeast. Her PhD Thesis was awarded with the "ÖGMBT Dissertationspreis 2015". Currently, she is a PostDoc at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. Her research focus is on lipid transport and trafficking, especially phospholipid scrambling by the rod photoreceptor rhodopsin. Her mentor is Martin Hetzer.

Mentor Martin Hetzer, PhD

In 1997 Martin Hetzer received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Vienna. He went on to do his PostDoc at the European Molecular Biology Lab in Heidelberg, studying the nuclear envelope using cell-free systems. In 2003 he set up his own group at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. He is currently a Jesse and Caryl Philips Foundation Chair and Professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. His research focuses on deciphering the structural and molecular organization of the nucleus and how it relates to development, aging and disease.


MENTORING PROGRAM 2014/15:

The two mentoring pairs sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Hanna Knaus, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Mentor Mariella Gruber Filbin, Boston Children’s Hospital und Dana-Farber Cancer Center

  • Mentee Michaela Gruber, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute - Mentor Konrad Hochedlinger, Harvard University

The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technical University of Graz is:

  • Mentee Florian Lackner, UC Berkeley - Mentor Thomas Brabec, University of Ottawa

MENTORING PROGRAM 2013/14:

The two mentoring pairs sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna are:

  • Mentee Hermann Agis, University of Michigan School of Dentistry- Mentor Beate Lanske, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Mentee Georg Furtmüller, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Mentor Georg Wieselthaler, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

The mentoring pair sponsered by the Technical University of Graz is:

  • Mentee Patricia Bubner, UC Berkeley - Mentor Martin Polz, MIT

MENTORING PROGRAM 2012/13:

  • Mentee Lisa Gfrerer, Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School - MentorGerald Brandacher, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Mentee Jelena Todoric, University California San Diego - Mentor Eva Schernhammer, Harvard Medical School

More ASciNA Mentoring Pairs 2012/2013:

  • Mentee Oliver Hauser, Harvard University, Cambridge - Mentor Günter Wagner, Yale University, New Haven
  • Mentee Iris K. Gratz, University of California, San Francisco - Mentor Jörg Fritz, McGill University, Montreal
  • Mentee Stefan Schaller, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge - Mentor Peter Nagele, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

MENTORING PROGRAM 2011/12:

  • Mentee Alessandra Handisurya, National Institutes of Health - Mentor Edda Fiebiger, Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School

Mentee David Stelzeneder, Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School - Mentor Alexander Rauscher, University of British Columbia, C