Asifa Akhtar re-elected as Vice President of the MPG
The Max Planck Society's Senate confirms a second term for the incumbent VP of the Biomedical Section
Alongside Patrick Cramer assuming the role of President of the Max Planck Society, Asifa Akhtar, the first international female Vice President of the Biology and Medicine Section, gets a second term in office. In addition, with the new Vice-Presidents are Claudia Felser from the MPI for Chemical Physics of Solids, Sibylle Günter from the MPI for Plasma Physics, and Christian Doeller from the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences the helm of the Max Planck Society gets more female.
Today, at the 74th Annual Meeting in Göttingen, the Max Planck Society announced that Asifa Akhtar had been appointed for a second term as Vice President of the Biomedical Section. She is now part of a new, more female Executive Committee with Claudia Felser from the MPI for Chemical Physics of Solids, Sibylle Günter from the MPI for Plasma Physics, Christian Doeller from the MPI for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and, of course, Patrick Cramer from the MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences as the new President of the Society.
In office since 2020
In her first term as Vice President, Asifa Akhtar has already worked to promote diversity and equal opportunities within the Max Planck Society. As head of the Presidential Commission "Opportunities", her achievements include the launch of the Max Planck Diversity Excellence Fund in 2022 and the MPG 2030 project, which aims to have at least one female director at each Institute in the future. In addition, she introduced the "Welcome Guides" mentoring program to support new directors in her section: "When they take office, newly appointed directors are on their own. It is therefore helpful if they can exchange ideas with experienced colleagues and thus also network better within the MPG," says Akhtar. Akhtar is also passionate about promoting young scientists, which is why she was instrumental in revising the Lise Meitner Excellence Programme and implementing the new Max Planck Careers Programme.
The Institute congratulates Asifa and wishes her another successful second term.
CV Asifa Akhtar
Asifa Akhtar, born in Pakistan, obtained her Bachelor degree in Biology at University College London (UCL), UK, in 1993 and her Ph.D. in 1998 at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, studying transcriptional regulation in Richard Treisman’s laboratory. She continued in the field of chromatin regulation as a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Becker’s laboratory at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany, and the Adolf Butenandt Institute, Munich, Germany. In 2001, Asifa Akhtar became group leader at EMBL. In 2009, she moved her laboratory to the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany (MPI-IE). In 2013, she was appointed Director at the MPI-IE, heading the department of chromatin regulation. Asifa Akhtar received the European Life Science Organization (ELSO) award for significant contribution in the field in 2008 and was elected as an EMBO member in 2013. In 2019, she was elected as member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 2020, Asifa Akhtar became the first female Vice President in the Biological-Medical Section of the Max Planck Society. Recently, Asifa was honoured with the 2021 Christa Šerić-Geiger Prize by the Carl-Friedrich Geiger Foundation, which recognises women who have made outstanding contributions to science, education, culture, social issues, or gender equality. In 2023, she is set to receive the American Ellis Island Medal of Honour, which honours people who utilise their wealth of knowledge to support disadvantaged communities.