Stefan Hohmann new Head of the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering

On September 1, Professor Stefan Hohmann starts his employment as head of the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and professor at the Division of Systems Biology. After following and influencing Chalmers' investments in biosciences for 15 years, he now takes the chance to direct, develop, and design a key part of the activities.

How did you feel when you received the message that you will become head of department?
Great! It was the first time I applied for becoming head of department. I have previously been the Vice Dean of NatFak at GU, but since 2012 I have no management duties, so it felt right here and now.

What made you apply for the position?
Over the past 15 years, I have closely followed and partially influenced the development of Chalmers' investment in biosciences; the position represents a unique opportunity to direct, develop and design an exciting and successful activity with great potential. I know the activities at the department, perhaps not equally well in all areas, and the research is close to my own interests.

What do you see as the greatest challenge?
There are many opportunities and the greatest challenge is perhaps to exploit these opportunities in the best way. It is a new department and it must find its place within Chalmers, but also within Gothenburg Life Science. It is also important that all the various parts are given the opportunity to grow while creating a cohesive department in which we use complementary skills in both research and education.

What do you look forward to the most?
When I start: To meet all the people in the department. And that I get to be a part of Chalmers and contribute to the department's and Chalmers' future.

What are you like as a leader?
I let others be the judge of that. As part of the process of recruiting leaders, Chalmers makes a personality assessment. In it, one can read that I have confidence in others' ability, which makes them to grow, and that I will not hesitate to take a stand for something I see as important, without a need to dominate. I like to bring together people with complementary skills to make new things happen.

40% of your time you will be Professor at the Division of Systems Biology. Could you tell us a bit about your research?
We try to understand how cells communicate with their environment. They do this through molecular signaling pathways that coordinate cellular response and adaptation. How these signaling pathways are controlled is important in different contexts, not least in medicine and biotechnology. We use experimental data and mathematical models, i.e., a systems biology approach, and we focus on yeast as experimental model system. I believe that our research fits very well into the department's portfolio, and I hope I get research funding to continue.

What is your life outside work like?
Family and soccer. The family would say: Soccer and family. I train goalkeepers between 12-15 years of age, and it takes up several evenings per week right now. It is extremely rewarding. We'll see how much time I will have as head of department. Photography is an interest which unfortunately does not get that much time at the moment. The family, four children and one grandchild, all live under the same roof in scenic Lerum.


Background, Stefan Hohmann:
Stefan did his undergraduate studies in biology and microbiology at Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. Then, a PhD in yeast genetics in 1987 at the same university was followed by two postdoctoral positions, one at the same university and the other at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. During his second postdoc, Stefan also was visiting professor at the University of the Orange Free State in South Africa for a total of six months.
In 1996, Stefan came to Gothenburg as guest professor at the University of Gothenburg (GU), while he at the same time was working at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven part of his time. In 1998 Stefan became associate professor, working half his time at Chalmers, and the other half at GU. In 1999 Stefan was appointed Research Professor by the Swedish Research Council and moved completely to GU. Since 2001 and until today, Stefan has been Professor of Molecular Microbial Physiology at GU.

Published: Fri 28 Aug 2015. Modified: Wed 10 Feb 2016