Maj Schneider Thomsen, PostDoc02. April 2018

  • What motivated you to become a scientist?

    On my 3rd semester studying Medicine with Industrial Specialization, we made a project about Parkinson’s disease. For the project, we used organotypic brain slice cultures containing substantia nigra. Considering we were a group of 3rd-semester students who had never worked in the laboratory before, it was a rather ambitious project. However, we actually managed to make some pretty good stainings of the dopaminergic neurons. I was so fascinated by the neuronal network and the brain in general that I knew from that point onwards that I wanted to be scientist and if possible, a neuroscientist. 

  • How did you end up doing what you do today?

    I hold a Master’s degree in Medicine with Industrial Specialization from Aalborg University with specialization in Biomedicine. I did my Master’s project at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand under supervision of Professor Warren Tate. It was an exciting year where I learned many new methods and Professor Warren Tate was a great mentor. During my stay, I studied the interaction of neurotoxic and neuroprotective proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease. After my return to Denmark, it was time to apply for a job, and with the opening of a Ph.D. position at Torben Moos’ lab within the field of Neuroscience, my plan was clear. I got the position and after finishing my Ph.D. “The vascular integrity of the brain in chronic neurodegeneration”, I got a Postdoc position connected to the RIBBDD consortium, which allowed me to continue exploring the peculiar blood-brain barrier. In October, I got a position as assistant professor, which happily created the opportunity for me to keep on working within the blood-brain barrier research field and the RIBBDD consortium. 

  • What are you working on at the moment?

    Right now, I am working with an experimental model of neurodegeneration studying the influence of chronic neurodegeneration on the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.

  • What do you think the most exciting thing about being a scientist is?

    I enjoy the diversity of my workdays and the fact that my work and findings might someday help patients suffering from neurological diseases. Additionally, being a scientist gives me the opportunity to travel to new places around the world participating in conferences with some of the leading scientists within the field. 

  • What do you do when you are not working?

    In my spare time, I am a passionate (amateur) elite mountain biker. Being outside in nature gives me energy and competing among the best in Denmark stimulates my competitive mind. And then, of course, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, family, and friends.