Women in science

Female scientists at Fraunhofer ISC

They are working on new drugs and diagnostic options, researching bioactive properties, investigating particle-based coatings and advancing battery development with new ideas. But what is the daily work of female scientists at Fraunhofer ISC actually like and what were their motivations for pursuing a scientific career?


Dr. Altair-Teresa Contreras Jaimes

Specialist for bioglasses, glass ceramics and cement with bioactive properties

Wissenschaftlerinnen am Fraunhofer ISC / Dr. Altair-Teresa Contreras Jaimes
© Fraunhofer ISC

"My research area is glass and biomaterials research. In the glass technology group, I am currently working on a product development project with industry and on collaborative research to develop software for predicting the mechanical properties of glasses.

The interesting part of this job is working on a variety of projects in a multidisciplinary environment and applying a variety of techniques with the goal of solving a material-related problem. My early inspiration was my aunt, a professor who taught me how to use the scientific methodology during my senior thesis in high school. Later, my advisors for my bachelor's degree in biomaterials, both women, motivated me by supporting my research and offering their time and commitment along with their expertise in the field.
To attract more women to research, I believe that broader representation in science is needed, for example, in scientific brochures, school visits, and social media. This representation varies by culture and country. However, role models and/or representation of women in nontraditional careers would help motivate young women to pursue different careers."

Dr. Sofia Dembski

Team Leader Biomaterials

Wissenschaftlerinnen am Fraunhofer ISC / Dr. Sofia Dembski
© Fraunhofer ISC

"I am leading the biomaterials team. It's exciting to develop materials that help cure different diseases as well as support exploration of different life science processes.

It's never boring, there's always something new to discover and the opportunity to develop every day. How to inspire more women to go into research? Good question. I think just do it. Studying science is very time-consuming, but if you have fun doing it and have a goal in mind, the time goes by very quickly."

Dr. Guinevere Giffin

Group Manager Lithium-Ion Technology

Wissenschaftlerinnen am Fraunhofer ISC / Dr. Guinevere Giffin
© Fraunhofer ISC

"My work focuses on developing materials and components for solid-state and Li-ion batteries. It's really fascinating to learn how ions move through electrolytes and how this affects battery performance.

My interest in chemistry began in high school – my chemistry teacher sang the periodic table in class – and it has continued to this day. I was fortunate to have many teachers/professors who found ways to spark my interest and push me to excel.
We can spark students' interest in batteries and electrochemistry by giving them opportunities to work on innovative research projects early in their studies. Then it's important to continue to inspire and support those people."

Dr. Claudia Stauch

Expert for particulate systems and inorganic coatings

Wissenschaftlerinnen am Fraunhofer ISC / Dr. Claudia Stauch
© Fraunhofer ISC

"My team and me are doing research in the field of functional coatings. We develop particle-based and hybrid anti-X coatings for various materials/products to make them more sustainable.

What I find particularly exciting about it is the interdisciplinarity. We work with a wide variety of materials for a wide variety of applications. For example, we have particle-based anti-dust coatings for photovoltaic systems, but at the same time these can also be used as anti-reflective coatings for windows. Another plus in research is the collaboration with female researchers around the world.
As a chemist, my doctorate was part of my education. During that time, I realized how much I enjoy developing new materials and working in international teams.
I think it is important for women to exchange ideas and support each other more. Mentoring programs can make an important contribution here. The compatibility of family and career is also an important pillar to support women in this decision. Personally, the support from my superiors and also the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's Talentaprogram helped me a lot."