Instant Chemistry: Conducting Research in Germany


Upon entering my senior year at Davidson College, I will have completed a full year of research under Dr. Nicole Snyder toward our investigations into new treatments for drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. After a summer and two semesters of conducting this research in Dr. Snyder’s lab, I now have the privilege to continue this research with one of Dr. Snyder’s collaborators at the Heinrich-Heine Universität in Düsseldorf, Germany.

chemistry stock image with test tubes and equations in the background

A collaboration between Nicole Snyder, associate professor of chemistry, and faculty at Heinrich-Heine-Universität (HHU), gives Davidson students the opportunity to conduct research in an international setting.

Having never traveled outside of the United States, let alone conduct research outside of Davidson’s campus, this opportunity thrilled me, but it did not come without its challenges considering my lack of knowledge in German vocabulary. However, almost a month into my work here in Germany, I have been blown away by the friendliness of the German students that I am working alongside, as well as the culture and the history of the city.

Working Monday through Friday leaves ample opportunity to travel throughout nearby cities and countries. With a trip to Cologne already on the books, I am constantly looking forward to our next adventures in Berlin, Amsterdam and Switzerland. I will carry the memories of these trips with me for a lifetime and will return to Davidson profoundly changed. Yet some of the greatest adventures and best memories I expect to have will not occur on the streets of Berlin or the mountains of Switzerland, but rather in the lab where I work with three other Davidson students and a team of dozens of German masters and PhD students.

The chaos of trying to find my way around a lab labeled in German, laughter caused by frequent miscommunications,and the research that ties all of it together make 9-5 seem so much less like work and more like a daily celebration of community that expands beyond borders and lab hoods. I don’t know what the remaining weeks will look like here in Düsseldorf, but I do know that they will have a profound impact on my life at home beyond academia and graduation in the spring. In the meantime, I’m going to immerse myself in the life of this city and hold onto every aspect of it that I can. Tschüss!


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Logan Russell '19 hails from Monroe, North Carolina.

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