My personal experience with biomimetics (Kathi)… or: how I ended up here!

Working in the field of biology is exciting!

It reveals new challenges everyday – there is a tremendous amount of things to study, research and analyse – in the world of a biologist, nothing should remain unknown. We want to understand everything that’s going on in our organic world.


But … what for?


I asked myself this question a few years ago, finishing my studies in biology and deciding to take one year off  to work a little bit in research and to find out, what it is I want to do with the rest of my life.

By that time I was working in the field of Plant Biochemistry, as I already decided that botany was the right subject for me. What I was doing was quite fascinating basic research on plants – but … what was its purpose after all (except for ‘knowing it all’) …?


When you ask someone from fundamental molecular research what he or she is working on, you will probably get this answer: ‘Well, I am working on a gene from XXX species – we want to produce a mutant form via modifying gene XXX which is probably associated with gene YYY … and all this is very important for cancer research‘ …

… and yes! Of course it is! It does not have to be cancer research, it might as well be resistances to pathogens or fungi or maybe researching plant species with higher yields.

I totally agree that these are definitely purposes worth doing fundamental research and I want to emphasize that this kind of work is extremely important and necessary for future applications … but: it is just so far away from them!


I concluded that for me personally: this kind of work would not be satisfactory. It would not be enough! I wanted to do research on something and be part of its application – to see it is being used and actually implemented (and not just hoping that this might happen one day).


So… what was my conclusion: I needed to redirect my education towards a field of biological research which is more application- orientated (so not fundamental research). Additionally I did not want to work only in a laboratory on molecular basis – this excluded working in the pharmaceutical industry. Also I wanted to stick to botany – so working in a zoo was not really an option.


You might guess, where I ended up …

Katharina Bunk

My name is Katharina Bunk, I am 26 years old and work as a PhD student in the ‘Plant Biomechanics Group’ in the beautiful city of Freiburg. I studied Biology at the University of Munich followed by the Master program ‘Bionik/ Biomimetics in Energy Systems’ in Villach/ Austria. I am especially interested in Botany and therefore chose Plant Biomechanics as my main field of research.

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