Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.
This week: Maxim Baranov
1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
Maxim Baranov, Russian, PhD at the Department of Tumor Immunology, Cancer development and immune defense.
2. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your childhood years.
I always wanted to be part of a creative profession. In my childhood I desired professions ranging from an interior designer to landscape designer. Which is why now I am glad that I have a chance to design experiments and look at molecular landscapes.
3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies?
I received my Biotechnologist degree at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and then moved to the Netherlands in 2012, where I obtained my Master of Molecular Mechanisms of diseases degree (MMD) at the Radboud University.
4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
For me personally, it would mean that fundamental mechanisms of molecular interaction in immune cells have to be studied in depth in order to understand the disease. I believe in fundamental science and agree with the notion that translational and fundamental research should be existing in harmony.
5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
First of all, I admire first female scientists that paved the way to the diversity in the scientific environment. One of the great examples is a Polish female scientist Marie Curie – who due to her research on radioactivity – promoted the advancement of crystallography allowing future scientist to gain more insight on molecular structures.
Second, I am amused by the scientist that had enough courage to resist the exiting dogmatism in science and society. My favorite examples are Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei who put forward a heliocentric model which was strongly opposed by the church.
Third, I am inspired by the examples instructing on staying optimistic during failed experiments. For instance, Alexander Fleming’s accidental bacterial culture contamination with fungus caused a groundbreaking discovery of antibiotics saving lives of a great number of people during the WWII.
6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
My research project dedicated to the novel function of the podosomes in the dendritic cells made me the most proud. It also brought me theluxury of a first author publication during my master internship at the same department, where I am working on my PhD now. Moreover, the paper we wrote on “Podosomes of dendritic cells facilitate antigen sampling” gave that confidence necessary for a PhD candidate.
7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
At the moment I am mostly interested in the molecular organization of the phagosome – the mechanism by which immune cells internalize the pathogens. I would like to invest more into the studies aiming to unravel proteome-lipid interactome of the phagosome containing different types of antigen.
8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
I try to keep my desk as neat as I can, though sometimes you may encounter a moment when creativity and chaos meet and decide to lodge for a while on my desk… People also ask me why do I have a collection of at leaves 5 pairs of sun and protection glasses in all colors and shapes at my desk, however the question I also find baffling to this day and I have no answer for.
9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her?
I would like to ask Geert van den Bogaart – my supervisor – about his recipe for success at winning so many research grants and always staying positive and optimistic no matter what.
10. What type of person are you, quick insights:
a) Mac or PC:
PC (never MAC, never mainstream)
b) Theater or Cinema:
Theater of course (cinema only in case of art-house movies)
c) Dine out or dine in:
IN! (it saves you a lot on tips)
d) Ferrari or Fiat:
Ferrari Bicycle, please
e) Schopaholic or chocoholic:
Chocoholic – leave bitterness of overdrawn credit behind and focus on sweetness of life
f) Culture or Nature:
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