Hartmann lab welcomes Marshall Plan Scholarship Fellow

We are thrilled to host a visiting master’s student, Lisa Michelitsch, starting next month. Lisa’s visit is sponsored by a generous scholarship from the Marshall Plan Foundation. Here’s why she’s excited to come to Chicagoland:


During my bachelor´s degree program in Molecular Biology, I had the honor of doing two research internships abroad within Europe as well as working in multiple laboratories in Graz. This was a meaningful addition for my young academic education and simultaneously opened new scientific doors for me. Working in different laboratories with different people from all over the world showed me how important it is to create mutual understanding of different people’s views and opinions. In my mind, this is essential for exchanging knowledge between people with different cultures or backgrounds. From this constructive experience, I knew that I want to do my master thesis abroad to further broaden my scientific and personal horizon.

In addition, a well built network will give me the opportunity to keep up-to-date on new discoveries and ideas, which would be good for me to constantly develop myself in an area I love. Furthermore I get the chance to connect with people, which is another passion of mine. Following this idea (and big thanks to my supervisor, Alex Mahnert at the Department of Environmental Biotechnology in Graz), I had the chance to get in touch with Erica Marie Hartmann in person at her exciting presentation about the dust microbiome in July 2017. I was impressed by her work and the engagement of sharing knowledge with the public, which I think is one of the most important things in today´s science.

And thanks to the Marshall Plan Foundation, I now have the financial support to do my master thesis in the Hartmann Lab at Northwestern. The Foundation established an academic exchange program to fund scholarships for academic exchange between Austria and the U.S. with a special focus on Universities of Applied Sciences and Technical Universities. They support students, helping them in their career development and opening doors for transnational mobility. A key element of the scholarship is the freedom of the fellows to choose a research topic and the appropriate University fitting their individual needs.

The opportunity to choose the topic on my own was not only given by the scholarship but also by Erica, which really means a lot to me. I have decided to work on a new microbiome project centered on toothbrushes, which I´m very curious about. I can´t wait to join Erica’s group because I´m really motivated and eager to learn new methods and share ideas with all lab members.

I am convinced that this experience not only helps me in giving my master´s program the perfect closure but also provides a specific boost for a promising scientific career in the future.

Besides the amazing scientific opportunities that I get at Northwestern, I am also looking forward to going to the U.S. for the first time and to living in Chicago for an extended period of time.