Jan Grundheber and Fred Baer arrived in Australia from Germany in mid October

They pitched a tent at the Towradgi caravan park and prepared for their first day at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute.  

The pair travelled from the Bavarian town of Wuerzburg where they study biomedicines at the Julius Maximilians University. 

When searching for an international destination for their internship they found the IHMRI website and took a closer look at the areas of research and the Illawarra Shoalhaven region. 

“The research fields at IHMRI seemed to be very interesting to us and in particular Asscociate Professsor Heath Ecroyd’s work on Parkinson’s Disease caught our attention,” said Jan Grundheber. 

They exchanged emails and phone calls and eventually struck an agreement. 

For Associate Professor Ecroyd and his team, it’s a great opportunity to get some fresh ideas and develop international relationships. 

“It shows that our work is being recognised internationally and that students are keen to explore the research problems that impact human health that we work on. It also brings a fresh perspective and dynamic to lab group discussions,” said Associate Professor Heath Ecroyd. 

“According to our study plan, an internship overseas is not required, but given that research is becoming more and more international we are glad that IHMRI has given us the opportunity to participate in their work,” said Jan Grundheber. 

He went on to say; 

“Australia is well known for its high quality research and study standards and UOW is listed as one of the best Universities in the world, so Australia was our first choice for our overseas internship, we also wanted to experience Australia’s nature, culture and of course summer when it’s winter in Germany!”

As well as broadening his research experience Jan is also engaging as a volunteer surf lifesaver. 

“I am currently training to be a lifeguard and am doing the course together with Heath to be a beach patrol volunteer.” He added.

“At IHMRI everyone has made us feel welcome and helped us transition easily into a different lab space. There is always someone ready to assist us,” said Fred Baer.

Related stories

Parkinson’s disease research in the Illawarra

Media contact

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator
t: 4221 4702 m: 0417 044 867
e: louisenegline@ihmri.org.au

Pictured: Associate Professor Heath Ecroyd, Jan Grundheber and Fred Baer

Photo: Alex Pike

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