Meet Tom Goetze
“Tell us your story- how did your path lead you to Nanion Technologies?”
Since I was a boy I am fascinated by scientific and nature documentaries like the ones produced by the BBC. So I started studying Biology to become a nature film maker. During the studies I tried out several biological disciplines (including migration of the azure tit in Siberia) and ended up as a PhD student in the Biophysics department doing single channel electrophysiology in bilayers. In the lab of Richard Wagner we were interested in pore forming protein complexes from chloroplasts and mitochondria. Being able to see conformational changes of an individual molecule in real time fascinated me, probably even more than waiting for days with a camera in the bush for a crocodile to eventually bite a wildebeest. However, there are really exciting films! Remember the iguana hatchling on the beach chased by hundred snakes 😮
Since I was in high school I also wanted to live and work abroad for a while. So I found a postdoc position in Cambridge, UK, where I continued studying single molecules but this time by using an atomic force microscope in the lab of Michael Edwardson. The idea was to label purified membrane protein like e.g. NMDA receptors with subunit specific antibodies and decipher the subunit organization within the functional tetramer. It is mind blowing to see the characteristic Y-shape of an individual IgG molecule or an engineered structure of botulinum toxin at this magnification.
After this I moved to Munich (lab of Jürgen Soll) and spend a year pursuing research on chloroplast protein import and it was at this time that I went to the SURFE2R product launch event at Nanion. I knew the company since years but never thought I could really work for them. I liked the people and general atmosphere and applied for a position as application scientist. And this is what I do now enjoying my work balanced between development of new hardware and software, getting into contact with every ion channel possible as well as meeting customers for training and support.
“Knowing what you know now, what 3 pieces of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?”
If you really want to become a nature film maker, move to Bristol, get into the BBC Natural History Unit and stick to the plan! However on the other hand, always stay curious about whatever crosses your path. From my experience the best things in life happen to you if you follow your nose and instinct.
“One Last Question- what’s the coolest thing about your job?”
I get to try the latest technical advances on the SyncroPatch with the hottest ion channels from users, first!