Exchange program

Exciting insights: The team in Einbeck also benefits from Ronja Zeidler’s one-year exchange in the U.S.

From Einbeck to St. Louis

Exchange across the Atlantic

The personal exchange between Research in Einbeck and the Gateway Research Center in St. Louis has resumed: Ronja Zeidler from Cell Biology spent a year in the U.S. as an expat.

Ronja Zeidler is an employee who actively puts our slogan #makeyourselfgrow into practice. The 24-year-old began her training as an agricultural technical assistant at KWS in 2019 and then stayed in the field of research: She now works in the Transformation Pipeline on the production of transgenic plants, i.e. plants in which various foreign genes or transgenes are incorporated in addition to their natural genes. “Basically, we’re like a service group for the production of transgenic plants,” explains Ronja Zeidler: “If a customer wishes to test certain genes in its plants, we’re the point of contact, and then we accomplish that in the laboratory.”

Then her boss at the time approached her with an interesting offer: a year in the U.S. as an exchange partner between St. Louis and Einbeck. “Of course, I was incredibly happy that I was chosen and that my boss thought I was up to the job, even though I hadn’t been working at KWS for long,” says Ronja Zeidler. So she packed her bags and moved to the large city in the state of Missouri with a population of over 300,000 for just under a year.

The Gateway Research Center (GRC) currently has 45 employees who work in seven teams on research projects relating to genome editing, insect resistance traits or cell technologies for doubled haploid and hybrid production. The objective is to develop innovative traits and technologies for our crops and thus advance research and breeding.

Researchers in Einbeck and St. Louis are working on the same topics. Close dialog is therefore a big plus.

Joining a new team

Exchange between Einbeck and the teams in the U.S. is important, as both are working on the same topics and need to interact closely. The exchange program was initially put on hold due to the pandemic. Ronja Zeidler was all the more pleased to get to know her local colleagues in person. “I joined a team here that had just been formed; the starting conditions were ideal,” she adds. “On my first day, though I walked straight to a big orange building on the campus – sure it had to be the KWS building because of the color – until it turned out that the GRC was next door,” says Ronja Zeidler with a smile.

„I can only encourage anyone to seize the opportunity for an exchange at the GRC.

Ronja Zeidler

During her time in the Midwest, however, she not only explored the GRC building professionally – Ronja Zeidler also visited Nashville, Indianapolis and Chicago with American and German friends. In her team, she was familiarized with her tasks by a colleague who then moved to a different unit; she herself was able to pass on her knowledge to a new team member at the end of her stay – that’s how knowledge transfer works.

Useful contacts

Ronja Zeidler’s duties in St. Louis presented her with new challenges: She worked in the New Cell-based Technologies (NCT) team with the aim of creating doubled-haploid plants. As part of that, Ronja Zeidler tested various genes that cause these doubled-haploid characteristics in different mechanisms.

Apart from the fact that she gained in-depth knowledge of scientific work and learned new approaches to research projects, Ronja Zeidler particularly appreciates the exchange with colleagues during her time at the GRC. Thanks to many professional and personal discussions, she not only improved her English, but also forged contacts that will now help her in her day-to-day work in Einbeck. After her return in August, she immediately joined the Transformation Pipeline as the new team leader. “I can only encourage anyone to seize the opportunity for an exchange at the GRC. During my stay, I not only helped reestablish closer contacts between the teams after the pandemic, but also tried to ensure that we work together with the same standards and find a common denominator more quickly. I can now leverage that experience directly in my new position.” |


Exchange program

In addition to individual development opportunities such as Ronja Zeidler enjoyed, there is a further exchange program between the GRC and Einbeck. Employees from research or administration can spend four weeks at the respective location. That allows both research units to grow even closer together and learn from each other. If you would also like to take advantage of this opportunity and make a contribution on site or acquire new knowledge, you can obtain more information from: Hinrich Harling (Einbeck, or Hongwu Jia (GRC, |

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