Meet an employee at DTU Health Tech

People

Our staff members are the most important assets to our department, they are the ones who teach, get ideas, develop health technology and make solutions that help patients.

 

Here you can meet a selection of the employees at DTU Health Tech. They have all been featured in our internal department newsletter, where they were asked a few questions about themselves and their work, as well as a thematic question in line with the theme for the relevant newsletter issue.

Photo: Jesper Scheel

Associate Professor Kirstine Berg Sørensen

We have asked Associate Professor Kirstine Berg Sørensen a couple of questions about working at DTU Health Tech.

Who are you and what is your background?
I am educated as a physicist, with chemistry minor, and my PhD degree was in theoretical physics. Soon after, I became interested in biological physics, and application of optical manipulation with biological specimen, and have to an increasing degree been involved in experimental work.

What kind of research do you do at DTU Health Tech?
In my research group, we aim to develop and explore biosensing with diamonds, and ultimately to be able to do nanoscale NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). Our work-horse is a colour center in diamond, a nitrogen-vacancy center, which has very specific magnetic and thermal sensitivity. The sensing ability relies on an electron spin and for the purposes of NMR it is this electron spin that can be made to interact with nuclear spins.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
I am particular fond of the interdisciplinary character of the research field that I am in, and for me a good day is one where colleagues with backgrounds in different scientific fields realise that they are excited about the same problem but seen from different angles.

As a female role model for young women in STEM, do you have any advice for someone pursuing a career in this area?
To dare following the interest in STEM. More practically, I would recommend searching for a mentor (female or male) with whom to discuss career aspects at regular time intervals.

Why do you like to work at DTU Health Tech?
The open work-culture and all the great colleagues – and the fact that we are an interdisciplinary faculty.

In your opinion, why should someone choose DTU as their workplace?
The colleagues and the facilities.

December 2023

Research section: MAGNETIC RESONANCE BY OPTICS

Kirstine Berg-Sørensen Groupleader, Associate Professor Department of Health Technology Mobile: +45 22275868

Photo: Private

Associate Professor Carolina Barra Quaglia

We have asked Associate Professor Carolina Barra Quaglia a couple of questions about working at DTU Health Tech.

Who are you and what is your background?
I am Carolina Barra Quaglia, a recently appointed Associate Professor at the Bioinformatics section. I have a PhD in Biomedicine and worked in Immunoinformatics for the past nine years.

What kind of research do you do at DTU Health Tech?
In my research group - called Protein Immunoinformatics - we aim to learn what triggers an abnormal immune response in disease. In particular, we are interested in the prediction of Allergy and Autoimmunity.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
Many researchers think of the field of bioinformatics as a toolbox to analyse different types of data. However, at the Bioinformatics section we also develop new tools and conduct original research tailoring these tools to further our understanding of biological processes. My research goal is to use machine learning tools to further our understanding of the immune response and immune tolerance, and why these mechanisms fail in allergies or autoimmunity. I believe my research will help to develop better treatments for those diseases.

How do you use Machine Learning (ML) in your research?
Although allergy only occur in some individuals, many allergic people have abnormal immune responses to the same specific proteins. Moreover, many of those proteins are structurally, and functionally related. Therefore, the proteins involved in allergy must contain some features that makes them special compared to other proteins that do not trigger allergies. We use ML to learn what patterns induce allergy so we can predict it, willing that in the future it will help to develop treatments to avoid it.

What does the future look like in terms of AI/ML in your area? What are the perspectives in your opinion?
The way we conduct research has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Before, a deep knowledge of the field would drive researchers to make specific hypotheses of how a mechanism will work, and then tailor specific experiments to answer those questions. With the enormous amount of data that is now available, and further generated every day, we need new tools to combine all this complex data on models that can learn what the patterns are. We are now living a paradigm shift in how we ask the research questions. AI and ML are helping us to interact with this big and complex data repository so we can extract the information we want or predict the outcome of a disease for a specific patient. In the future, it will also help us to find what is the best treatment for every one of us considering our different genetics and previous exposure to disease.

Why do you like to work at DTU Health Tech?
DTU is a technical university with a wide history on bioinformatics tool development. Some of the tools developed in our section are state-of-the-art and used every day by researchers, clinicians and companies around the world. As a researcher at DTU you are exposed to excellent technically trained students with a combined background in biomedicine, biotechnology and pharmacology, so it is the perfect place to motivate the students to conduct interdisciplinary research.
 
In your opinion, why should someone choose DTU as their workplace?
DTU has a friendly environment, a high level of internationalization and many different types of expertise are combined in the same physical place, so it is ideal to foster collaborations and conduct cross-discipline research.

October 2023

Research group: PROTEIN IMMUNOINFORMATICS

 

Carolina Barra Quaglia Associate Professor Department of Health Technology Phone: +45 45252477

Photo: Private

PhD student Philippe Gonzalez


We have asked PhD student Philippe Gonzalez a couple of questions about working at DTU Health Tech.

Who are you and what is your background?
I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Hearing Systems section at DTU. I hold an MSc in General Engineering from France and a MSc in Acoustics Engineering from DTU.

What kind of research do you do at DTU Health Tech?
I work with deep learning applied to speech enhancement. Speech enhancement aims at recovering clean speech from a signal corrupted by interfering noise and reverberation. This has applications in automatic speech recognition, speaker identification, and hearing aids.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
I hope my research sheds some light on the behaviour of deep learning models for speech enhancement and bridges the gap between research and actual development in e.g., hearing aids.

You have been a Teaching Assistant a couple of times, what have you learned from that role?
I have learned to remember that while the course content can seem obvious to me, it took me years to get there, and the students might not be there yet. I have also learned that every student is different; some are quick at understanding new concepts while others need more help. So all in all, TA’ing helped me improving my communication skills and being more open-minded when interacting with people, who are not familiar with my domain of expertise.

August 2023

Research section: HEARING SYSTEMS

Philippe Gonzalez PhD student Department of Health Technology

Photo: Private

PhD student Goutham Manimaran

We have asked PhD student Goutham Manimaran a couple of questions about working at DTU Health Tech.

Who are you and what is your background?
My name is Goutham Manimaran, and I've recently started my PhD at DTU Health Tech under Prof. Jakob E Bardram. I've recently finished my Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence from India and also worked at Philips Research for over a year in Ultrasound Imaging.

What kind of research do you do at DTU Health Tech? 

At DTU Health Tech, I am engaged in Identifying and finding the prognostic value of digital biomarkers for Heart Failure. My goal is to develop predictive tools that can identify the disease before it occurs, enabling timely interventions and reducing the number of hospitalizations.

How would you like to make a difference through your work? 

Through my research, I aim to contribute to healthcare by leveraging artificial intelligence. Ultimately, I strive to contribute to the development of proactive and personalized healthcare solutions that can significantly improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

What is it like to be a new staff member at DTU Health Tech in terms of diversity and cultural differences?

As an Indian staff member in Denmark, being part of DTU Health Tech offers a unique opportunity to experience and embrace cultural diversity. The department boasts a very multicultural environment that encourages fresh perspectives and promotes cross-cultural collaboration, enabling us to tackle research challenges from different angles. I greatly appreciate the chance to collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds, exchanging ideas and fostering a rich research environment.

June 2023

Research group: PERSONALIZED HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Gouthamaan Manimaran PhD Student Department of Health Technology

Photo by Jesper Scheel

Associate Professor Line Hagner Nielsen

We have asked Associate Professor Line Hagner Nielsen a couple of questions about herself and her work at the department.

Who are you?
My name is Line. I am an Associate Professor in the Drug Delivery and Sensing (IDUN) section, and group leader of the Pharmaceutical Technology group. 

What is your background?
I am educated as a pharmacist from the University of Copenhagen. After finishing my master’s, I worked for one year at a pharmacy in Østerbro in Copenhagen. Thereafter, I did my PhD at University of Copenhagen within drug formulation development and pharmaceutical technology.

What kind of research and educational activities do you do at DTU Health Tech?
My research is within drug formulation development and device development for targeted drug delivery mainly for the oral and buccal (in the cheek) routes. The polymeric and/or lipid delivery systems are for small molecules, peptides, and proteins and for applications such as vaccine, colonic and buccal drug delivery.

Regarding teaching, then I am responsible for the elective master course ‘Preclinical Drug Development’ where mainly external speakers from industry take us through every step in the drug development phases. Furthermore, I am responsible for the PhD summer schools within Drug Delivery and Micro and Nano sensors, which go on for two weeks in August, hosting PhD students from all over the world.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
I like to do research, which is very driven towards trying to cure or improve treatment of diseases to hopefully make a difference for patients.

Within education, my goal is to create courses where the students learn to be creative and ‘think-out-of-the-box’ and at the same time obtain knowledge on all the exciting research and industrial processes going on. 

What is it like to be a new group leader at DTU Health Tech?
It is exciting and I enjoy it very much, especially following the development of the group members. Moreover, there is a new established group leader forum at DTU Health Tech, and I think this will be a nice network across the department where I can also learn a lot from more established group leaders.

May 2023

Research section: IDUN

Line Hagner Nielsen Group leader, Associate Professor Department of Health Technology Phone: +45 45255751

Photo by Jesper Scheel

Laboratory Technician Lotte Nielsen

We have asked Laboratory Technician Lotte Nielsen a couple of questions about herself and her work at the department.

Who are you?
My name is Lotte Nielsen and I am part of the Lab Tech group at DTU Health Tech. I am also an Occupational Safety and Health Representative and part of the local AMO (Occupational Safety and Health Organisation).

What is your background?
In 1985, I was trained as a Laboratory Technician at Risø, which at the time was called Research Center Risø. After I finished my training, I was hired at the centre to conduct analyses on soft contact lenses.

What do you work with at DTU Health Tech?
I teach new colleagues and students how to use our High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) setup among other things. I also provide the work environment and safety introductions necessary for everyone, who will work in the labs. And I sort and handle chemical waste from building 423, where I primarily work.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
I find helping and guiding others rewarding, and in particular when I can pitch in and guide colleagues and students regarding their analytical work.

Where do you see possibilities for DTU Health Tech to increase sustainability?
Running a research laboratory entails a large consumption of disposable products, chemicals and electricity for operating various equipment, refrigerators and freezers, therefore we must think about sustainability all around.

Consistent use of the database Kemibrug.dk and registration of the chemicals that we purchase can lead to fewer purchases. Imagine that we to a greater extent share chemicals to reduce the quantity that we have to send for destruction when they expire, thereby reducing the expenses for purchases as well as for disposal.

The fume cupboards in our labs are responsible for a high energy consumption, we must increase our focus on keeping the fume cupboards closed when they are not in use. Some fume cupboards closes automatically, but unfortunately not all models have this feature. An open fume cupboard consumes the same amount of energy as a single-family house!

Another favourite subject of mine regarding sustainability is recycling or reutilization of used furniture and equipment from labs as well as offices and meeting rooms. It is delightful when we can reuse old cupboards, laminar flow cabinets etc. The only downside regarding reutilising furniture is an extended need for storage, which is why extra possibilities for storage is on my wish list.

November 2022

Lotte Nielsen Laboratory Technician Department of Health Technology Phone: +45 45258128

Photo by Jesper Scheel

Team Leader and Work Environment Coordinator Marlene Danner Dalgaard

We have asked Team Leader and Work Environment Coordinator Marlene Danner Dalgaard a couple of questions about herself and her work at the department.

Who are you?
My name is Marlene, and I am Team Leader for the Core Facility group at DTU Health Tech, and also the department’s Work Environment Coordinator.

What is your background?
Originally I was trained as a Lab Technician at a hospital, where I worked for 15 years while doing my Bachelor and Master’s in Molecular Biology and Chemistry in parallel. Afterwards, I did my PhD at the University of Copenhagen in genetic aspects of male fertility and testicle cancer.

What do you work with at DTU Health Tech?
I am heading the Core Facilities team, which includes a major part of the department’s lab technicians and work shop engineering assistants. We are putting technical competencies at disposal for all of DTU Health Tech’s researchers. Our main core facilities include: Sequencing, Cell Labs, Histology, Flow Cytometry (FACS) and Electronic & Mechanical Services. Furthermore, I am also appointed Work Environment Coordinator at DTU Health Tech, which entails coordinating the work environment efforts on behalf of the management across the department.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
I want to contribute to a work place where people feel good and where it is safe to work. I want to ensure a good culture, where we recognize our colleagues, where we feel safe sharing our opinions, and where we talk TO each other, not ABOUT each other. A work place where we all give and take and help each other out when needed.

Why is the work environment important to you and a work place?
To me safety and security is of utmost importance. Both on a physical and a psychological level. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured into doing tasks that can make them ill. There are multiple environmental factors that have the ability to affect us negatively, I want to make an effort to ensure that such factors are minimized here at DTU Health Tech. I want all staff to feel safe when they are working in our labs and buildings, and I want DTU Health Tech to be a department in the forefront in relation to the working environment.

December 2022

Marlene Danner Dalgaard Senior Researcher, team leader Department of Health Technology Mobile: +45 23493032

Photo: Private

Associate Professor Martin Dufva

We have asked Associate Professor Martin Dufva a couple of questions about himself and his work-life, where he educates tomorrow’s engineers and does research within the area of fluidic array systems and technology.

Who are you?
I am an associate professor in the Optical Imaging and Sensing Systems section. My research is on organ on a chip systems and I teach in Molecular diagnostics, genetics and design build courses. I am Head of Studies for MSc in Advanced Materials and Healthcare Engineering, and MSc in Quantitative Biology and Disease Modelling.

What is your background?
I am a molecular biologist with specialty in virology, who joined DTU 2001 working with high throughput molecular assays, digital assays and organ on a chip systems. The focus of the latter has been intestine, blood vessels and the liver.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
For teaching: to produce confident and creative students that can participate in solving societal challenges particularly within medicine.

For research: to create better and user-friendly organ on a chip model for animal replacements and to understand mechanism of tissue formation.

The life of a teacher and researcher at DTU Health Tech, what is it like?
Driving research and teaching requires dedication and the tasks are equally demanding and time consuming, at least for me as I have an ambition to improve DTU’s teaching portfolio, so it matches DTU’s research output in the field of human therapy and diagnostics. This requires a new set of courses and study lines that are being implemented. Due to the high-quality research in the field, we had the ability to make a course portfolio that will let us develop more complex teaching efforts in cell-based therapy, drug delivery, and diagnostics to contribute to tomorrow’s practice of medicine.

Being able to shape a research field is as rewarding as shaping the education at DTU. As opposed to research that rarely result in a tangible product in short term, you see the results of education developments in a few years. I feel glad and proud when our main product, in my opinion, students, including PhD students, later ends up in the industry or hospitals, where they make a difference for society.

There is only so much time to use and it is obvious that teaching affects the quality of research but also the other way around. There is constant “double booking”, where teaching activities coincides with the funding deadlines, which of course affect the quality of both activities. Some prioritizations are needed every week. My biggest concern is how universities will continue to produce high quality research-based teaching. We are increasingly under pressure to achieve cost savings and quality improvements and that lead to specializations of the work force that increasingly will distance research from teaching.

September 2022

Research group: SCALABLE ORGAN ON A CHIP SYSTEMS

 

Martin Dufva Groupleader, Associate Professor Department of Health Technology Mobile: 5133 3753

Photo by Jesper Scheel

Postdoc Serhii Kostrikov

We have asked Postdoc Serhii Kostrikov a couple of questions about his work and life.

Who are you?
My name is Serhii Kostrikov, and I am a neurobiologist/neurologist with a great interest also in cancer therapy and advanced machine learning-based image analysis.

What is your background?
Originally, I was educated as a neurologist and worked within the field of clinical research in cerebrovascular pathology in Ukraine. Having a genuine interest in understanding mechanisms of neurological diseases, I decided to transition to preclinical research. After a year of research work in Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen, where I studied impairments of vasculature and of brain fluid dynamics in cerebrovascular pathologies, I joined DTU. At DTU, my work is focused on deciphering effects of various therapies and investigating pathogenesis in brain and intestinal pathologies, as well as cancer, by using 3D deep tissue imaging and 3D machine learning-based image analysis.

How would you like to make a difference through your work?
With each passing year, biomedical research becomes more and more cross-disciplinary, as well as increasingly dependent on complex analysis of large datasets. I hope that my work focused at developing, automating and implementing methods for advanced image analysis, as well as automated handling of large datasets extracted from biological tissues, will help to gain an in-depth understanding of pathogenesis and drug-tissue interactions in a number of pathological conditions including those remaining to be great challenges of modern biomedicine, namely cancer and neurodegeneration.

How do you manage your work-life balance with everything that is going on in Ukraine?
This large-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia has dramatically changed the life of, perhaps, every Ukrainian, even those, who are currently abroad. Generally speaking, there is not much of a work-life balance, but instead, there is some sort of work-Ukraine-related activities balance in my life. However, to be honest, maintaining any sort of balance is challenging at the moment. This is, first of all, because this war has brought a considerable amount of anxiety into my life from worries for the lives of my loved ones (most of the members of my family and friends have decided to stay in Ukraine for now), to the feeling that all of us risk losing the place that we call “home” and our motherland as a whole.

Trying to find efficient ways to help Ukraine from here, I became a part of a great team of activists in the Association of Ukrainians in Denmark and a humanitarian organization called ‘Bevar Ukraine’, who work in many directions to provide help to Ukraine including raising awareness about the situation in Ukraine here in Denmark. Engaging in such sort of activism really helps me personally, because it provides a kind of outlet to all the emotions evoked by this war and gives me a feeling that I can help at least somehow.

Both my direct leader, Thomas L. Andresen and my Head of Section Jonas Henriksen, have been very supportive from the day one of this war. Both of them have reached out to me personally straight away to express their support, willingness to help and their understanding of the fact that such extraordinary situation may interfere with my work, and that I may need to take some time off because of this. In addition to this, I definitely feel a strong support from the other members of our lab. Most of my colleagues, either in person or in writing, have been expressing their concern and support; some have offered their help with my ongoing experiments and some, even told me that they are ready to host members of my family, if they will need a place to stay in Denmark. It is very heart-warming to work among such people, and taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my leaders and to all supportive members of CBIO, CitBIO as well as other groups at DTU Health Tech. In these heart-breaking times, seeing all the atrocities and war crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, it is difficult for us Ukrainians to preserve our faith in humanity, but such kind people, whom I have a pleasure to work with here at DTU Health Tech, really help me keeping it up.

September 2022

Serhii Kostrikov Postdoc Department of Health Technology Phone: +45 45258132