Hariklia Kazila started her PhD at the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology in January this year as a part of ImmunoSensation´s graduate program. Originally from Greece, Hariklia completed her Master’s Degree in Plant Biotechnology at the Agricultural University of Athens. She then worked in the Biopharmaceutical industry in Athens and in Belgium before coming to Germany to start her PhD.
Hariklia, can you tell us in one sentence what your PhD project is about?
I am working on the innate immune system, and, in particular, on innate immune responses from cells that do not typically belong to the immune system, such as parenchymal tissue.
Where did you work before joining the ImmunoSensation Cluster?
Before coming to Germany, I worked in both in academia and in industry. I did my Master´s in Plant Biotechnology in Greece. I worked on the development and specifically the detection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like maize and wheat and also dealt with the ethical questions concerning GMOs. Afterwards, I joined in a biopharmaceutical company, called UCB, in Greece. Then, I had the chance to work in the R&D department of this company in Belgium.
When I was in Belgium, I got very interested in immunology and immunological therapeutics. We were working on the development of a cell-culture platform, to up-scale antibody production to GMP level for therapies in arthritis, atherosclerosis and other immune diseases. This was what helped me focus on immunology, When I was in contact with medical doctors who deal with the pathophysiology of these diseases, I got excited by the idea of helping people by bringing research findings from the lab to the clinical level for patients, “bench to bedside” as everyone says.
What made you come to Bonn and what do you like about it?
When I was in Belgium, I wanted to return to the academic science again. While working at a company, I found myself very focused and specialized on one process, and wanted to regain a more versatile way of thinking. But I also wanted to focus on science and immunology, and I think that academic research is the best place for that. So I was searching for a project in immunology and was interested in Bonn, as it was close to Belgium, and I liked the city. The ImmunoSensation Cluster in Bonn was a perfect match for me as its focus is immunology and in Germany. I am fascinated by the level of the technology, science and scientific knowledge here.
What do you do when you are not in the lab?
I like to play music: I play the guitar and I play an arabic instrument called ney. I like literature and reading books. Here, I have also discovered how nice it is to go biking and being outside in the nature and I am enjoying that very much.