Steering Group


Dr. Marta Porniece-Kumar (Spokesperson) is a postdoc at the MPI for Metabolism Research in Cologne, exploring emerging biologies of brain specific targets to treat metabolic diseases. She brings in experience from several previous roles within MaxPlanck PhDNet. Her goal is to strengthen the PostdocNet as a network and contribute to the creation of sustainable career paths for postdocs within the Max Planck Society.

Dr. Lina Schaare (Deputy Spokesperson) is a postdoc at the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, investigating how vascular risk factors and mental health affect the brain’s integrity. Previously, she has been actively involved in the PostdocNet as Postdoc Representative and co-leader of the Equity & Diversity Working Group. In her new role, Lina wishes to further develop the PostdocNet as a valuable community and stable network for Max Planck Society postdocs.

Dr. Nicholas Russell (General Secretary) is a postdoc at the MPI for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, where he mathematically models giant cell formation in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. During his PhD at the University of Delaware, he served as the Graduate Student Representative on the Graduate Committee in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. He hopes to improve communication between the external representatives and to focus on immigration issues for postdocs coming from outside of Germany.

Dr. Sarah Kramer (BMS Representative) is a postdoc at the MPI for Infection Biology in Berlin, where she uses mathematical modelling to better understand the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. Previously, she has been involved in the PostdocNet as a member of the Communications Working Group. As a member of the steering group, Sarah hopes to help improve communications between the PostdocNet and MPS postdocs.

Dr. Sajjad Safaei (HSS Representative) is a postdoc at the MPI for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale). His research interests span the disciplines of anthropology, law, sociology, international relations, history, and Middle Eastern studies. He hopes to help in advancing the long-term goals of both the Max Planck Society and PostdocNet.

Dr. Mayukh Panja (CPT Representative) is a postdoc at the MPI for Solar System Research in Göttingen. During his PhD, he worked with the MaxPlanck PhDNet to help organize Visions in Science. As a member of the steering group, his goal is to help create pathways for postdocs considering their next career move, whether that be in academia or industry.

– Former Steering Group Members –


Deyan Mihaylov (MPI for Gravitational Physics), Spokesperson

Maryna Polyakova (MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences), Deputy Spokesperson

Emma Watson (MPI for Molecular Biomedicine), BMS Representative

Christoph Scherer (MPI for Polymer Research), CPT Representative

Manuela Bragagnolo (MPI for European Legal History), HSS Representative


Yu-Xuan Lu (MPI for Biology of Ageing), Spokesperson

Rana Amini (MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics), Deputy Spokesperson

Michael Grange (MPI of Molecular Physics), General Secretary

Luisa Stella Coutinho (MPI for Legal History and Legal Theory), HUM

Corina Laube (MPI for Human Development), HUM – Deputy

Pablo Ruiz De Olano (MPI for the History of Science), HUM – Deputy

Olga Koshkina (MPI for Polymer Research), CPT

Efstratios Bourtsoukidis (MPI for Chemistry), CPT – Deputy

Karina Pombo-Garcia (MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics), BM

Yulia Borozdina (MPI for Biological Cybernetics), BM – Deputy

Pepe Alcami (MPI for Ornithology), BM – Deputy