Growing Up in Academia
Monday 22.01.2024 18:00 — 19:30
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, ArtLab Foyer

Growing up in Academia with Tobias Moser

Tobias Moser

Tobias Moser

What is it to be a scientist? How does one become a scientist? Growing Up in Academia is a conversation series with academics at different levels of their career focusing on the sometimes short, sometimes long and winding roads behind the “official CV”.

Each event features an open conversation (interview) with a different faculty member, representing the broad spectrum of academic life. We will cover topics such as dealing with expectations (your own and others’), the role of luck/coincidence in scientific discovery, impostor syndrome, procrastination, and conflicts with advisors. Join us for a conversation about the human factors that universally inform the profession, but that too often remain unspoken. These events will be hosted and presented by Lucia Melloni (Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics). 

On Monday, January 22, 6 p.m. CET, Growing Up in Academia features Tobias Moser, Director of the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience, University Medical Center Göttingen.

This Growing Up in Academia session is a hybrid event: you can attend on-site at our institute (please register here) or online via Zoom (please register here)

Official CV

Prof. Dr. Tobias Moser is a neuroscientist and otologist at the Göttingen Campus in Germany. He heads the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience at the University Medical Center Göttingen and leads research groups at the German Primate Center and the Max-Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen. His main areas of research are synaptic coding and processing of auditory information as well as innovative approaches to the restoration of hearing in the deaf such as the optogenetic cochlear implant and gene replacement therapy.


Unoffical CV

I was born and grew up in former East Germany. Living there and struggling with the political system taught me to value democracy. For reasons I do not fully understand I was let to start medical training at University of Leipzig just before peaceful protests sparked there and elsewhere in East Germany.

Medical training and physiology, in particular, fascinated me and I checked out potential scientific projects. I tapped into very different rotations and was fortunate to meet Bernd Nilius, with whom I took my first steps in research then at Medical School of Erfurt. While the project did not turn all to productive, I learnt a lot and greatly appreciate his mentorship.

I then got the chance to do a project with Erwin Neher at the Max Planck Institute for biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen while completing my medical training. The exciting experience working in a thriving scientific environment fully convinced me in pursuing research as my main professional activity: I joined Erwin Neher as a postdoc. For my family this meant moving “West”, which was quite an experience. While most of the aspects were positive, there were some challenges too, e.g. given differences in child care and job market for my wife as a teacher.

When considering topics to work on I decided for synapses of sensory hair cells of the inner ear, for which synaptic physiology was not well characterized at this time. I was lucky to build a small team at the Max Planck Institute for biophysical Chemistry and also did a residency in Otolaryngology working at the University of Göttingen Medical Center. This meant splitting the day into clinical training, working in the lab and family & friends.

Both activities were going well and we could grow into the InnerEarLab of the Dept. of Otolaryngology at the University of Göttingen Medical Center, where my colleagues and I also got the chance to build a state of the art clinical audiology unit. This is where I obtained a  professorship and my team further grew a thriving research program.

Options outside Göttingen came up but till now I decided to stay in this exciting and livable powerhouse of Neuroscience. Making use of the opportunities given to us, such as the founding of the Institute for Auditory Neuroscience and groups at the German Primate Center as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, I have served the Campus with building collaborative research projects and supporting careers of excellent young scientists.

With many ups and fewer downs, my life as a scientist, clinician-scientist and family person has been generous. It remains important for me to find a good split of time for things that are important to me. With growing responsibilities and getting older, I am investing more into balance between passion for work, family and hobbies such as sports and music. I am grateful to my family, my mentors Erwin Neher and Wolfgang Steiner for all the support and accommodating my passions.


The event will be held on Zoom. Pleaso note the Data Protection Information Regarding Zoom Webinars.