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Dr Matthias Soller

Dr Matthias Soller

Dr Matthias Soller
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Seymour Benzer: He formulated the idea that genes direct behaviour making him the founder of Neurogenetics. He identified the first gene involved in learning & memory. Earlier, he had identified the genetic code by saturation mutagenesis of a phage.

Michael Rosbash: I know Michael from many discussions during my post-doc time in Brandeis as an excellent scientist. He has a very impressive publication record and for his seminal work on biological clocks in Drosophila, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017.

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

I adopt a very personalized supervision style depending on a student’s needs, progress and goals.

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

My lab has a collection of core technologies and protocols and students are taught either by myself of experienced PhD students or post-docs, and we provide guidance for troubleshooting.

Each student has a core project and at least one unrelated side project with the aim to produce at least one first author paper and the opportunity to contribute to other publications.

Students are trained in making publication quality data figures, scientific writing and presentation of data at scientific conferences. Students are further trained in applying for their own funding to go to conferences.

Students will present their results at theme meetings, flyclub and RNA club meetings, and once in the third year in the Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology.

Progression monitoring and management:

The graduate school requires a monthly monitoring meeting where progress is discussed in light of the aims and research goals.

For research monitoring, PhD students, post-docs and myself are available for ad hoc meetings to discuss results and follow up experiments.


I am available during the day for personal meetings and by the lab WhatsApp group.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

We have group meetings once per month and weekly theme meetings. In addition, we have monthly Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology, fly club and RNA group meetings.

In year 1-3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

Once per month to fill out the GRS2 form, and additional meetings to discuss results if necessary. In addition, I spent time in the lab where I can be contacted for ad hoc discussion.

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

Work in my lab requires being present on site during the core hours of 10-17.

Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?

I need a few days notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.