While in Kyoto, Sophia had her moment – the moment that every researcher (and every ambitious individual) – knows all too well. The moment when you take a deep breath. And look at your work with fresh eyes. When you ask: Where will my passion for my work take me? "Science certainly gave me the feeling of coming home," she says. But something was missing. And she certainly had no way of knowing that she'd eventually find the missing piece to her puzzle in Karlsruhe – the city where it all began.
I want to do my bit to help bring scientific achievements to society.Sophia
After studying chemistry at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Sophia decided to get her PhD. "It blew my mind to think that my research could impact the future of medicine," she says. Her PhD thesis focused on laying the scientific foundations for the advancement of a SURGEL, a binding agent that allows an implant to merge with the bone on the cellular level. In other words, enable artificial materials to fuse with the human body. The magic of osseointegration initially defined her work.
Her stint in Japan wouldn't just expand her personal horizons. During her postdoc at the university in Kyoto, her field of research grew, and its scope continued to expand. "One question was always on my mind: How will I put my research into practice? Who will translate my findings into products that will actually shape the future of medicine?" She always came to the same conclusion: that is, to marry science and industry. "Our capacity for innovation is amazing, isn't it?" she asks, positively beaming. She had found her missing puzzle piece.
Now, Sophia wants to focus on blending fundamental research with market expertise. "I want to do my bit to help bring scientific achievements to society," she says. After all, combining two components is Sophia's specialty.
She previously worked on a bioactive agent for fusing implant and tissue, and is now developing a tincture that will enable ever closer collaboration between science and industry. A binding agent that will cause the two components to fuse. To produce this agent, she is conducting her own "fundamental research" free of dependencies. She launches science forums, is committed to research collaborations and helps apply projects and research ideas to the industrial realm.
The ZEISS Innovation Hub in Karlsruhe is a key part of her efforts. You could say it's the basis of the "osseintegration" she hopes to achieve, i.e. the fusion of science and industry. Its Innovation Labs give Sophia the chance to work alongside students whose ideas have the potential to define the OR of the future. She's also skilled at using Makerspace to put technically driven startups in touch with people in the scientific world. This could raise their ideas to a whole new level.
And while Sophia "conducts research" into the right binding agent, her knowledge of industrial applications continues to grow. She experiences and shapes the way scientific research is transformed into societal progress.
It's incredibly exciting to take theory and create product ideas that add value to society.
From medical technology to Smart Production, the ZEISS Innovation Hub is driving the innovation culture toward the megatrends of the future.
And Sophia is at the heart of it all. She still feels right at home in the world of science, and has definitely found a home away from home at the ZEISS Innovation Hub. A home for herself and for her missing puzzle piece: the fusion of science and industry.