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PhD researcher, FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre (RCSI)

Mona Heiland

Job title
PhD researcher
FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre (RCSI)
One year
  1. BSc in Biology
  2. MSc in Neuroscience
Favourite subjects in school
The best thing about my job
As I am a very curious person, I like to discover new things.

Be interested in what you want to do and be curious about it.

As I am a very curious person, I like to discover new things.

My main tasks

The main tasks are carrying out the experiments, analysing data, and keeping up to date with current research in the field.


To discover something new and to not get discouraged when experiments are not working as expected. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to find a solution to a problem. But it is normal in science that things work differently as expected. The challenge is then to keep on going and to not give up. At one point the reward is coming.

Who influenced me

I always was interested in Biology and I think my Biology teacher contributed a lot to it. She had a talent to explain things and I could feel as a student that she was also very enthusiastic about her job. Also during my studies I was influenced by a few people, including my family, who encouraged me to continue my career after my Master studies and start a PhD.

Work/life balance 

Sometimes it is not easy to have a good work-life balance as many things come together in one time and there is a lot to do. Some experiments require also to work on the weekend. But with good organisation, it is possible to finish everything in time in order to do things outside of the University. A nice aspect about research is to meet people from all over the world and you can share experiences among each other. Although academic jobs don’t offer a lot of security, I would like to stay in academics to give my knowledge also to other people.

Most useful aspects of my education

For me it was very useful to do internships in different labs and not only in Germany (I am German) but also in a foreign country. This helps a lot to gain different lab skills and get to know the daily life in a lab.

Useful work experience

Internships are always good to get to know different aspects of the field. They also offer the opportunity to find out what you like most and what interests you. On top of that a lot of lab experience can be gained which is always useful.

Top tip 

Take opportunities where you can gain work experience and don’t hesitate to travel to new places to work - it can open new perspectives for you