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Intuition and passion: two conditions for a thesis under joint supervision

Publication date: 22/07/16


Tina Jühling is preparing a thesis in molecular biology and biological chemistry under joint supervision in Leipzig and Strasbourg. Despite a lot of time spent traveling between the two universities, it is an enriching experience.
Tina Jühling had decided to pursue a Franco-German career early in her course of studies by participating to student exchanges and spending a year in French-speaking Switzerland as an au pair. She later graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in life sciences at the universities of Strasbourg and Sarrebruck, which allowed her to combine her two favourite subjects: French and biology. After completing a Master’s degree in Marburg, she came back to Unistra to pursue her PhD under international joint supervision. Her thesis work focuses on the characterization of two proteins interacting with the same mitochondrial molecule. Her two research teams in Strasbourg and Leipzig are specialized in one protein each. Her research schedule was planned in accordance by her thesis supervisors, Mario Mörl and Catherine Florentz: after working in Leipzig from October 2013 to May 2015 she is now spending the last year and a half in Strasbourg. The Franco-German University is providing her with financial support during her mobility.

Two institutes in two countries: twice as enriching

As a doctoral student under joint supervision, she is enrolled at both universities.“It took me a while to adapt when I arrived here last year”, Tina explains: she had to get used to a different scientific literature and to new work methods. Although working on her thesis in two places, with two research teams and in two languages increases Tina’s workload and commuting time, the advantages of joint supervision take over. “I feel like I am working in a broader scientific field; I interact with many more researchers”, she enthusiastically explains. “You get to meet interesting people and make enriching experiences in both countries. You also adapt to the different mentalities, methods and structures more easily.” As far as language is concerned, Tina rarely encounters difficulties, even though she sometimes fails to find the right word when speaking spontaneously. She is writing –and will defend- her thesis in English. She has no detailed career plan yet, but would like to pursue her research anywhere in Europe along with her husband, who currently works for the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). Tina Jühling advises future doctoral students wishing to do a thesis under joint supervision to meet their two research teams and to trust their intuition: “Scientific experiments often fail. This makes it all the more important to work in a pleasant atmosphere with nice colleagues who can cheer you up.”


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