A Personal Touch of Fabian Baertling


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: Fabian Baertling






1. Name, nationality, current function & department?
Fabian Baertling, German, Research fellow in the OXPHOS biogenesis group of the RCMM led by Leo Nijtmans, theme Mitochondrial diseases.

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 can’t remember. I suppose I did not plan ahead that far when I was a child. In between 1996 and 2000 my family and I moved three times. Saskatoon in Canada was one of the places we lived in. During the two years we spent there, we experienced the most extreme weather. In winter, the low temperature record was -40 degrees with months of continuous ice and snow whereas in summer temperatures rose to above 30 degrees on some occasions.

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies? 
I studied medicine at RWTH Aachen University in Germany from 2005 until 2011. In January 2012, I completed my MD thesis and began my clinical training as a pediatrician at the University Children’s Hospital in Düsseldorf where I have been working as a clinician ever since.

Since July 2016 I have been part of the OXPHOS biogenesis group at the RCMM as part of a one year research fellowship of the German Research Foundation in order to study the molecular mechanisms of inherited mitochondrial disorders with a special focus on the biogenesis of the respiratory chain complexes, especially complex I.

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
I believe that understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease and keeping them in the back of your head is a very important part of being a pediatric physician and a part that I find particularly exciting . It allows you to look at a patient’s condition from another and very interesting perspective and I think it helps you improve the quality of your daily clinical work. Importantly, improving this understanding and being able to move to unknown molecular frontiers of a disease is my key motivation to work in science.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
I suppose this is the part where Albert Einstein or other nobel prize winners are usually mentioned. However, I would rather  to go for a “real life” example and someone I have actually worked with. My current group leader Leo Nijtmans serves as an important example to me. Apart from being a heartfelt and nice person, I like the fact that he thinks very straightforward and works very goal-oriented while remaining a good sense of scientific creativity.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
Although I would not call it a discovery, but rather the result of a lot of hard work and patience, I am proud of having contributed to the understanding mitochondrial complex I assembly in a recently published project that Sergio Guerrero-Castillo and me worked on.

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform? 
I would just simply continue my current projects since I am convinced that they are good. Furthermore, I can’t think of one single experiment that significantly improves with the amount of money put into it.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)?
It’s often quite messy, so I hope it does not reflect my research. About me, this tells you that, even though I love to work, I do not like to clean up at all.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Laura Sánchez-Caballero

10. What type of person are you, quick insights:
a) Mac or PC?:
b) Theater or cinema?:
c) Dine out or dine in?:
Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?:
Fiat is fine as long as it has a good sound system and GPS
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?:
f) Culture or Nature:

<< back to overview news items