Carsten Voelkner: Plant Physiology First Author

Carsten Voelkner, first author of “Two plastid POLLUX ion channel-like proteins are required for stress-triggered stromal Ca2+ release”

Current Position: Ph.D. student, School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University

Education: B. Sc. in Biology from the University of Cologne

Non-scientific Interests: Football (either one), Spikeball, reading, hiking and backpacking, cooking, and politics. According to coworkers, I do a fine enough job as the resident lab DJ.

Brief Bio: During high school, I intended to become a physician but soon realized that my passion was the physiology of life, and I started studying biology in Cologne. I met my current advisor, Henning Kunz, through his former mentor, who taught a class I selected in my bachelor’s in Cologne. Since he had just set up his laboratory at WSU, he was looking for help in the lab, and I jumped on the opportunity. He helped me a lot along the way and even offered me a place to sleep when I encountered complications with my stay in the US. I quickly became fascinated by lab work and the science behind it, and when he offered to train me as a Ph.D. student, I knew that this was the way. Since then, I have been studying the chloroplast and mutants of plastid ion channels at the School of Biological Sciences. Outside of the lab, I joined the WSU graduate student senate, which gave me insight into policymaking. Along the way, I was lucky enough to engage in internships at Cornell (Electrophysiology with Dr. Piñeros) and a phenotyping company in Germany. After finishing my degree, I intend to find employment in challenging academia or industry projects which aim at creating a more sustainable future.