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Tell me about Major Cancer Biology!

Alumna view: Amira Metwaly from Egypt (class of 2008)

Amira's post on LinkedIn from June 2022:

Amira's post on LinkedIn (June 2022)

Benedikt Rechmann from Germany (class of 2014)


About Benedikt

Benedikt, born on February 10th, 1992, graduated from the Major Cancer Biology in 2016. He wrote his master thesis at the Division of Redox Regulation, where he now pursues his PhD studies on the redox regulation of cellular metabolism. During his MSc studies at DKFZ, he was awarded the DKFZ HIGS MSc fellowship, the MLP MINT Excellence fellowship, and the PhD fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds.


Why did you apply?

The Major Cancer Biology MSc program at DKFZ is highly focused on cancer research. Throughout my BSc studies in biomedicine at the University of Würzburg I developed a strong interest in the biology of cancer and thus chose this focused program at DKFZ. Being the largest biomedical research center in Germany and embedded into the university campus, DKFZ is part of a top-ranking research hotspot. This international renown is reflected by the percentage of international students within the Major – another important reason for me to choose this masters program. Finally, its modular structure allows for selection of practical courses and lab internships according to the student’s personal interest.


How did you benefit from the program?

The Major Cancer Biology acquainted me with both, a broad theoretical background on the principles of cancer biology, as well as practical training in the techniques applied in cancer research. Importantly, studying in English together with students from all over the world allowed me to familiarize with the international environment of research early on. Of note, I am very thankful for the financial support granted by the DKFZ HIGS MSc fellowship, which allowed me to focus on my studies and complete the program at pace.

Due to the broad research overview provided by the Major Cancer Biology, together with my personal selection of lab practicals and internships, I was able to strengthen my focus on cancer metabolism, and, importantly, to identify and secure a master thesis and PhD position fitting my research interest.


Can you recommend the program?

Absolutely – especially if you as a candidate already have a strong interest in cancer research. Pursuing the Major Cancer Biology will allow you to develop yourself within an internationally renowned scientific environment at one of Germany’s hot spots for cancer research and qualify you for PhD positions inside and outside DKFZ.

Gintvile Valinciute from Lithuania (class of 2014)

Lisa Rösch

Gintvile was selected to attend the Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau 2018 (LiNo18), where 39 laureates met 600 young scientists from 84 nations.

You can read the interview with her in the Research in Germany Newsletter in which she tells about her research at the DKFZ and her encounter with the Nobel Laureates.

She was furthermore interviewed for the Blog on "Women in Research at LiNo18".

Here is what she says about our program:

At Heidelberg University, I studied Molecular Biosciences with a major in Cancer Biology. The programme partner is the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ). Here I learned a lot, tried a few different fields in cancer biology, did an internship abroad (Karolinska Institute, Sweden), published my first paper and enjoyed the scientific environment provided by the DKFZ. Therefore, I decided to stay here for my PhD as well. After my MSc thesis internship in Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors division, I realised that I would like to do research in a more translational, more clinical topic. I also looked at other European PhD programmes, but the one here in Heidelberg enabled me to pursue exactly the research that interests me. Thus, I am currently working in the Clinical Cooperation Unit Pediatric Oncology in the group of translational brain tumour modelling in one of the best teams I have ever worked in.

Martha Carreño González from Mexico (class of 2017)


Why did you apply?

I decided to apply for Master program “Molecular Biosciences” with a Major in Cancer biology, because I knew it will provide me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in cancer research, to improve my practical skills and also will allow me to expand my horizons by working with a multidisciplinary and international team. Research makes me feel challenged and by knowing that I can really contribute with a little to the field keeps my passion alive.


Can you recommend the program?

I will definitely recommend the program. From my point of view, it is generally very interesting, well-structured and with a state of the art technology for research. I am pretty sure this Master program will give me the necessary background to continue with my desire of studying a PhD and a Post-PhD in the same area. I have been part of this Master program for two months already, and I can say that it has exceeded my expectations with all the knowledge I have acquired, the academic conferences I have attended, and the amazing colleagues from different countries I have met so far. I am looking forward for the next semesters.

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