Johanna Bischof. Photo provided by Johanna Bischof
Johanna Bischof. Photo provided by Johanna Bischof

Dr Johanna Bischof is a postdoctoral researcher studying how certain animals can regrow body parts lost following injury, with a special focus on the regeneration and regrowth of the nervous system. More information:

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Not currently, but I really want a cat.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a few pieces of decor based on my current work and general science nerd things. I also have a lot of things with starfish on them, because I used to work with those for my PhD.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

My native language is German, and in addition to English I also “speak” Latin (in that I learned a lot of Latin in school and still enjoy reading ancient roman texts).

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I think I would have my own Bakery or I would go into Politics.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Archaeology. That was always my second dream job.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?


11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Watch: Schitt’s Creek
Read: Homegoing, The new Jim Crow L
isten: Lizzo, Pod Save America

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Have brunch with some friends, go to an Art exhibit, sit somewhere cozy with a cup of tea and a good book, go to the gym.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Skype (to talk to my family), meaningful work, good food

15 What beverage gives you life?

Black tea

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

The Physicists (a play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt) about morality in science and discoveries that cannot be undone.

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A teacher or an archaeologist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Sharing my passion for science with other people – giving talks to other scientists, teaching students or talking to the public about research

19 What got you excited in science?

I first got excited about science when I used a microscope – the idea that we can make things visible that we cannot usually see and that through seeing something at its fundamental structure we can understand it better.

20 What excites you about science now?

The opportunity to always learn new things and to learn from people with very different perspectives and backgrounds, as well as teaching new things to other people. Also, the feeling that the day to day work we do is contributing to incremental increase in overall knowledge.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Endless reruns of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m a really good baker and I also do fancy nail art.

23 What is your favorite game?

Dungeons and Dragons.

24 What is the last book you read?

The Celts – Search for a Civilisation

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Opportunities will come along at random times in your life and they will be coming from directions that you may not expect and they may come at what seems like the most inconvenient time. You still have got to take them. Don’t wait for the opportunity that you always thought you wanted or for a more convenient time – take the risk to do the thing now and see where it leads you. The opportunity isn’t coming back or waiting around for you.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

I think I’d like to go skydiving once but I’m also not a big fan of heights.

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

It does in fact get better! It may not feel like it now, but it will. You will find your place and build your community. Embrace the adventures that lie ahead.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Reading a captivating story, working out, sleeping

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Currently I’m re-watching my favorite Star Trek series – Voyager.

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Worms. Just a whole bag full of little tubes with worms in them

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

The Lord of the Rings

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Spaghetti bolognese

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Christmas Eve

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

The number of chromosomes varies widely across different organisms. Humans have 46, but some ferns have 1260.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Freshly baked cake

39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

The fact that I genuinely care about people and try to always improve myself as a person

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Kintsukuroi – The Japanese practise of repairing broken pottery with gold

42 What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was last year when my firsts students graduated – seeing their success and helping them navigate college and find their path made me very proud.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Oak tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

I love many cultural opportunities (museums, theater etc.) and the many different international restaurants.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I didn’t take any biology classes in high school, but I had the opportunity to work in a lab during the school breaks, so that convinced me to go into biology.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Megan Biango-Daniels (@MNDaniels24), Nirosha Murugan (@msahsorin)