Born in Pils, Czech Republic, Kristyna Pluhackova studied quantum chemistry at the Charles University in Prague. During the four years she worked in the international research group of Prof. Pavel Hobza at the Czech Academy of Sciences she discovered both her passion for science and her European nature.
"Some people feel home in their home-town, I feel home anywhere in Europe, provided I can communicate with the local people. Because I hated German at school, I took French courses at the University. And then I found an exciting PhD position in Bavaria ;) But living among Germans has shown me that neither the German language nor the people are hard and unfriendly. In fact, since about 5 years I am a German myself and, in the meantime, I speak Czech with a strong German accent :D"
During her PhD in the Computational Biology group of Prof. Rainer Böckmann in Erlangen, Pluhackova developed and applied methods for molecular dynamic simulations of biomembranes. Her scientific visits in the group of Prof. Siewert-Jan Marrink in Groningen, The Netherlands, and in the group of Prof. Peter Pohl in Linz, Austria, have led to fruitful collaborations, that are active since then. After an additional year as an independent young researcher in Erlangen, studying G protein-coupled receptors, she switched to the ETH Zürich in Basel, Switzerland, where she complemented atomic force microscopy experiments performed in the Biophysics group of Prof. Daniel Müller.
"When confronted with experiments and reality on a daily basis, I realized that molecular dynamics simulations lag behind in many aspects. But you do not have time to cure for all those problems when you do, let's call it, applied science. So, when I saw the opening at SimTech, I was really thrilled by the unique opportunity to concentrate on method development again."
Building up on the expertise and infrastructure in SimTech, her goal is to improve molecular dynamics simulation techniques in order to achieve a more realistic description of biological systems.
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