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Speaker: Sofia Kirke Forslund-Startceva
Sofia Kirke Forslund-Startceva is a computational biology researcher based in Berlin, with an interest in engineering greater freedom and self-determination wherever possible.
Sofia Kirke Forslund-Startceva left her native Sweden after training as a molecular biotechnologist and bioinformatician following doctoral studies in evolutionary bioinformatics, spending 2012-2018 at the EMBL in Heidelberg using computational methods to explore microbial ecosystems as a post-doctoral researcher. Sofia relocated to Berlin in 2018 to start an independent research lab at the Experimental and Clinical Research Centre (ECRC), a joint venture between the Charité University Hospital and the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC), the Host-Microbiome Systems Medicine lab. In 2023 she was appointed Professor for Applied Microbiology by the Charité, and since 2019 is ranked among the top 1% most cited researchers in her field worldwide.
A lifelong adherent of the hacking ethos, Sofia sees all systems as valid optimization targets, whether symbolic, cultural, spiritual, technical, biological or organizational, a perspective which informs her research also in a transhumanist sense, with an ultimate goal of enabling longer lives in bodies better adapted to our individual needs. Sofia ascribes to political liberalism, queer feminism and ideals of human self-determination. In her personal life, these ideals empowered her to seek legal, social and medical sex and gender transition away from her birth assignment at around the time she came to Berlin, following a few decades identifying as nonbinary. Sofia is married, polyamorous and active in LGBTQ and kink communities. Spiritually, she is a Discordian and a pagan priestess of Inanna.
Lab web page: https://www.mdc-berlin.de/forslund
Social media: @inanna_nalytica
Various invited writings, press releases and interviews: