Sara Björk Sigurdardóttir, PhD student01. February 2018
What motivated you to become a scientist?
When I was about five, my dad hurt his knee and I told him when I was grown up I would make a medicine to fix it. That was before years of thinking I could be anything from engineer to musician, but I somehow made it back to making medicines. I was always fascinated by the way the world works and learning about science in school made sense of it all. When I started high-school I was drawn by natural sciences of all sorts and it never even occurred to me to stop learning about science.
How did you end up doing what you do today?
I finished my bachelor degree in inorganic and organic chemistry at the University of Iceland, where I worked on the synthesis of triglycerides, both as a bachelor project and during internships. The research was very interesting, but there was no connection to real life. Why did we synthesize these molecules? We did it for the sole reason to see if it could be done. I needed a real purpose for the research, so I moved to Copenhagen to study medicinal chemistry at KU. I learned about the physiology, pharmacology and technology behind the medicinal chemistry research and during my master project I worked on brain receptor research. My fascination for the brain then led me to my PhD project in the BBB group at DTU Nanotech, where we go even further and are constantly looking at the real life applications of our research.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am synthesizing new targeting molecules for improving the transport of nanoparticles into the brain. This includes both peptides and small molecules, which have to be studied both on their own and as a part of nanoparticle drug delivery systems.
What do you think the most exciting thing about being a scientist is?
The most exciting things in research are the unexpected results of an experiment. Sometimes they are good, sometimes bad, but learning something new is always worth the effort.
What do you do when you are not working?
I go bouldering and sing in a choir, which takes up most of my free time. The few hours I have left I like to spend with my friends or cooking good food.
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