Jane Palsgaard - STAR PostDoc Fellowship

Jane Palsgaard

Age: 32 years

Nationality: Danish

Education: Masters and Industrial PhD degrees at the Hagedorn Research Institute, Denmark, and University of Copenhagen.

Place of study: Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, US

Jane Palsgaard

STAR PostDoc Fellowship

“The STAR programme has given me the opportunity to focus on what is important to me - exploring the molecular basis of insulin signalling in fat cells, in the hope that one day I can contribute to our understanding of how to better combat insulin resistance in diabetes.”

Home away from home

I’m very busy. Many weeks I spend about 75 hours in the lab of Professor C Ronald Kahn at the renowned Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts. No doubt, the lab is my home away from home these days. But I am not complaining because I feel very privileged to be able to explore my research interests in insulin signalling specificity in such a stimulating work environment.

I’m currently drafting my first research paper on my work at Joslin. My all-time favourite review when I was starting out in research was a paper from the Kahn lab entitled “Critical nodes in signalling pathways: insights into insulin action”. It is pretty cool to now be authoring my own paper under Professor Kahn, who is a recognised world leader in the field.

From Denmark to Boston

The funding from Novo Nordisk’s R&D STAR (Science Talent Attraction and Recruitment) programme has allowed me to make the transition from Denmark to Boston very smoothly while focusing on establishing myself at Joslin and making the most out of my time here. For me, the international diversity at the Kahn lab means that I gain access to other points of view when solving problems in my research and I have also gained a lot of insight into other working styles compared to how we work in Denmark, for example.

Another key benefit of being at Joslin is the opportunity to meet other researchers. I have worked very hard to build up a good network in the field here and it means a lot to me. Novo Nordisk has been a part of my network for quite some time since I completed both my Masters and Industrial PhD degrees at the Hagedorn Research Institute in Denmark. I was also a recipient of a STAR fellowship when I was a graduate student at Hagedorn. Novo Nordisk has been very supportive to me throughout my research career and it is the obvious place for me to return to if I come back to Denmark to work.

Danish ‘hygge’* in the US

When not in the lab I prioritise time with friends - whether shopping in New York, exploring Boston and hiking in the nearby mountainside, or just enjoying good wine, food and a movie. I am enjoying living and doing research in Boston but at heart I am still a Dane and ‘hygge-time’ is what keeps me balanced.

* 'Hygge' means cosiness in Danish and is a fundamental aspect of Danish culture and life.