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DC Diaries #1

DC Diaries #1 - Jeremie Marlhens

Welcome to the SYNSENSO DC Diaries. In this series of blog posts, we share our experiences as Doctoral Candidates in the SYNSENSO networks – highlights, challenges, secondments and what makes us tick outside of research. Enjoy!


I’m Jeremie Marlhens, the first Doctoral Candidate (DC1) of the SYNSENSO Doctoral Network (DN), and originally from France. I joined the SYNSENSO DN in December 2022 and am currently part of the Self-Organizing Systems (SOS) Lab at Darmstadt, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Heinz Koeppl. I was driven here by my interest in complex biological systems and their challenges.

My transition to Germany was smooth; I’m accustomed to moving around, and it’s still within Europe. I’ve enjoyed the calm of Darmstadt—it’s a student city, vibrant and filled with opportunities to meet many international students, which has been great. 

Recently, I went on my first secondment to the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, under the guidance of Prof. Tom de Greef. This aspect of the unique opportunities being part of a MSCA doctoral network is something I’ve particularly enjoyed. In Eindhoven, I worked on a project slightly different from mine. This experience provided a valuable chance to step back and rethink my project and how I organize my work, bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas.

The biggest challenge in my new professional life has been the organization. Previously, in school, everything was structured—you’re told what to do and are rewarded with good grades. In contrast, research is much more complex. There’s also pressure from implicit expectations to deliver outstanding results. Gradually, I’m uncovering the complexities of the research world and its demands.

In all of this, engaging in sports has significantly helped balance my lifestyle. In my second year, I began training for a half marathon. This activity has been vital for venting, rethinking situations, balancing the various aspects of my life, and setting smaller, achievable goals. I’m excited to participate in the half marathon this spring!

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Shooting photo between two minipreps