Contributions to STEMM
Dr. Henning joined UT Southwestern as Director of the Advanced Imaging Research Center from the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Germany. She is “a physicist who develops novel medical imaging technology.” Specifically, her “lab focuses on scan and analysis software and hardware development for magnetic resonance imaging and the translation of respective novel methods to clinical, neuroscientific, and metabolic studies,” she said. Additional research interests include glioblastoma imaging – where she seeks to find ways to better treat what is considered one of the most advanced and difficult cancers to eradicate.
The support of those close to her impacted Dr. Henning’s decision to pursue STEMM.
“My father inspired my interest in nature and science by exposing me early to its wonders.”
In her formative educational years, “my physics teacher was inspirational too. I am sure she contributed to my decision to choose physics among the different areas in science and technology to specialize in.”
The path to Dr. Henning’s current position included many challenges she had to overcome. “I took several risks,” she explained. “I started to build my first lab at ETH Zurich just after graduation from my Ph.D. without postdoctoral training. After that I joined the Max Planck [Institute] to be one of the pioneers to explore the advantages of 9.4T human MRI with only three scanners worldwide and a lot of technology to develop to overcome plenty of technical barriers.” Another notable risk she undertook was geographic. “I moved from Europe to the US to join UT Southwestern to lead the Advanced Imaging Research Center, when I had spent my entire career up to that point in Europe,” she said.
Advice for the Next Generation
Dr. Henning hopes to see the next generation of women in medicine and science follow their own unique interests.
“My advice to young girls is to be curious and explore. Careers cannot be planned but are the result of work you are enthusiastic about and believe in. This is the basis of excellent performance in science.”
Dr. Henning also stressed the importance of developing a network of like-minded individuals. “Get connected to your scientific subcommunity as career opportunities may come from unexpected directions."
The UT Southwestern Difference
Dr. Henning finds fulfillment in her career as both a physicist and a mentor at UT Southwestern.
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“The possibility to explore the unknown satisfies my curiosity and is intellectually stimulating. I also enjoy working with and guiding Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows.”