„Science must be
BEYOND THE PROFESSIONAL BENEFIT
Maya Schuldiner had already heard a lot about TUM Professor Thomas Misgeld. She knew that the head of the Institute of Neuronal Cell Biology at the TUM School of Medicine was researching the same functional area of cells as she was. Instead of yeast, his lab uses mice as model organisms. In the focus group “Subcellular Dynamics in Neurons,” the experts from Israel and Germany merged their knowledge of yeast and mice. New insights into the locomotion and communication of organelles in cells were thus gained. “Being part of the TUM community allows me to think beyond the boundaries of my lab and see a much broader scientific horizon,” says Maya Schuldiner. “The year I spent in Munich was one of the best scientific years of my life. I am very grateful to TUM for this opportunity and experience.”
Maya Schuldiner is also grateful for the scientific exchange with her husband Oren Schuldiner, who also works at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2017, he had been able to accompany his wife to TUM through the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. “We discuss science all the time,” Maya Schuldiner says. “There’s something very special about having someone around who cares about you and your success and also really understands what you’re doing.”
The couple not only shares science interests, but naturally also shares the care of their three children with each other. “I’ve realized over the years that you can do much better science when you’re happy and energized,” Maya Schuldiner says. “That happiness lies in being able to have enough time for your partner, children, friends and hobbies in addition to your work.”
At Maya Schuldiner’s Lab, this life motto is a key priority – and applies equally to men and women. “True gender equality can only be ensured if science is family-friendly,” affirms Maya Schuldiner. “It’s important that both female and male scientists can enjoy a rich family life while pursuing their scientific careers.”
In 2020, Maya Schuldiner was awarded the honorary title of TUM Ambassador by TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann. In recognition of their achievements, this title has been awarded once a year since 2013 to selected top international researchers. “As a TUM Ambassador, I want to show that intercultural collaboration is not only a way to advance science and improve the future of humanity,” says Maya Schuldiner. “It’s also a way to overcome differences and identify commonalities. It’s a way to bring people together.” In this spirit, Maya Schuldiner wants to continue to engage with the TUM community and share her experiences with them. In spring 2021, she will speak about careers in science and balancing family and careers at a Women of TUM afterwork.
Prof. Dr. Maya Schuldiner
TUM Ambassador 2020
From a young age, Maya Schuldiner was fascinated by living things. As a child, she spent many hours in the hills around her house collecting flowers, insects and small animals. This inspired her to study Biology for her undergraduate studies. In 1998, she graduated from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. In 1999, she followed with a master’s degree from the Department of Genetics. In 2003, she received her doctorate in Genetics. For her postdoctoral studies she went to the University of California in San Francisco, USA. Since 2008, she has been conducting research at the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Since 2019, she has held the Dr. Gilbert Omenn and Martha Darling Chair in Molecular Genetics. She is tirelessly involved as a mentor and at promoting gender equality as well as at empowering Young Principal Investigators.
From 2017 to 2018, Maya Schuldiner was a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow at TUM-IAS. In 2020, she was awarded the honorary title of TUM Ambassador by TUM President Prof. Dr. Thomas Hofmann. Maya Schuldiner is an editor of numerous science magazines. Most recently, she was elected a member of the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences. The scientist has received several awards. In 2014, the renowned biology journal Cell named her one of the forty most promising young scientists worldwide (“40 Under 40”). When Maya Schuldiner is not in the lab with her “second family,” she enjoys baking, reading, playing the piano, scuba diving, and hiking in the desert with her husband and three sons.