Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month we travel to Ludwigshafen, Germany, to chat with Julian Röwe, postdoctoral researcher, cell programming & transduction, medicinal chemistry & screening biology, AbbVie.
As a group of neighborhood kids were being reduced to the size of an ant in an 80s sci-fi cult classic film, Julian Röwe’s curiosity began to grow … and grow. Fascinated by the idea of a hidden world just beyond his grasp, he became intent on using his unique observational powers to solve life’s great mysteries. Now immersed in a world of microscopic details and epic unknowns, he dedicates his time and efforts to advancements in the field of neuroscience research.
Tell us the story of how you fell in love with science.
As a kid, I loved all science-related movies starring “mad” professors. One of my all-time favorites was the 80s cult classic film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” in which a quirky inventor accidentally shrinks his own kids with a home built electromagnetic laser beam. After unknowingly depositing them in the trash, the kids are forced to fight their way back into the house through the garden while facing threats from giant-sized insects, lawn mowers and other hazards. This idea of being shrunk and catapulted into a completely different world, a world right beneath our feet, absolutely fascinated me; I remember running around my own garden with a magnifying glass for quite some time after watching the movie. Through this and other experiences, I became keen on learning more about nature and technology and started to read as much as possible in these areas. Additionally, my older brother encouraged my passion and played a huge role in paving the road to my eventual career in science.
What motivates you to keep coming into work every day?
In my opinion, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating health issues as those suffering from this disease (and their relatives) lose the essence of what defines them – their character and memories. Furthermore, this disease already affects the lives of millions of people today, and those numbers are only continuing to rise. What motivates me is the knowledge that every little step of scientific progress – even if that means disproving favorable hypotheses with valid research – brings humankind that much closer to a potential therapy for this debilitating disease.