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Free Space for Research

Three researchers at the University of Freiburg receive “STAY!” and “Come and STAY!” bridging scholarships

Freiburg, May 04, 2018

Free Space for Research

From the left: Laura Gámez-Díaz, Miriam Rennung, Katerina Schlöglova. Photos: privat

The University of Freiburg and the Freiburg New University Endowment are supporting three women researchers in 2018 with “STAY!” and “Come and STAY!” bridging scholarships. Dr. Laura Gámez-Díaz and Dr. Miriam Rennung have been granted “STAY” scholarships, while Dr. Katerina Schlöglova is receiving funding from the “Come and STAY!” program. The scholarships are intended for women who have received their doctorates and would like to continue their academic careers although they have yet to receive follow-up funding. The program is also to help researchers who have begun an academic career abroad and would like to work on their next research project at the University of Freiburg.

An initial six-month stipend of 1,800 euros/month can be extended to one year. During the scholarship period, the researchers have time to work on research proposals with which they will be able to apply for project positions and further their careers in academe.

Dr. Laura Gámez-Díaz work is focused on a rare genetic disorder that affects the normal functionality of the immune system, known as LRBA deficiency. Discovered in 2012 in the laboratory where Gámez-Díaz is currently working, the disease is up to now only partially curable, affecting children in particular. Gámez-Díaz’s research goal is to develop better diagnostic procedures and therapy options that increase the life expectancy and the quality of life of disease sufferers. Affected patients develop too few protective antibodies and high levels of autoantibodies, which attack the body’s own red blood cells, platelets and joints. Furthermore, patients with mutations in the LRBA gene often suffer from recurrent gastrointestinal and respiratory infections as well as enlargement of the liver and spleen. In Colombia, Gámez-Díaz studied Microbiology at the Industrial University of Santander in Bucaramanga and Biology with emphasis in Immunology at the University of Antioquia in Medellin. She received her Ph.D. in 2017 at the Center for Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI) at Freiburg University Medical Center for her thesis “LRBA deficiency: Clinical phenotype, biological pathomechanism and murine model”.

Individualized counseling for joblessness is said to be the most effective approach to combating unemployment. One of the most influential factors in the counseling process is the relationship between the advisor and client. Dr. Miriam Rennung’s research project concentrates on specific counselor behavior patterns that lead to a return to employment. The project in particular is dedicated to investigating training interventions that have the aim of promoting effective counseling behavior. These should achieve a better working relationship and stimulate changes in the clients. To pursue this aim, Rennung has chosen a new, methodical approach that relies on video analysis to record objectively critical events during a counseling session. Rennung studied psychology at Osnabrück University and the University of Western Sydney in Australia. She also spent a research semester at the University of Nevada in Reno, in the US. She completed her Ph.D. with a thesis on “Organizational Rituals” in March 2017 at the Department of Economic Psychology.

Geologists describe accumulations of metals such as gold, copper, iron, or lithium as ore deposits. These came into existence as a result of the interplay between physical and chemical processes in the earth’s crust. Dr. Katerina Schlöglova is developing cutting-edge analytical techniques that aid the understanding of how these metals were transported from their source to the site of their accumulation. To achieve this goal, she will use and further develop laboratory infrastructure of the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The aim of Schlöglova’s research is to advance the knowledge about formation of ore deposits and extend it to future exploration strategies for essential mineral resources, vital for sustainable growth of the society. Schlöglova studied geology at Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic. She received a special funding from Charles University for her Master’s thesis on thermodynamic modelling of processes in the deep earth’s crust. She has an industrial experience, working as exploration geologist for a company engaged in gold mining in Sweden and Finland, among others. In 2017, she received her Ph.D. from the “Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule” ETH Zurich in Switzerland for her thesis on the chemical properties of hydrothermal fluids responsible for formation of the world’s largest copper deposit – Bingham Canyon in the US.


Dr. Laura Gámez-Díaz
Center for Chronic Immunodeficiency – CCI
Freiburg University Medical Center
Tel.: 0761/270-77742

Dr. Miriam Rennung
Institute of Psychology
University of Freiburg

Dr. Katerina Schlöglova
Professorship of Mineralogy and Petrology
Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-6416