Meet new blogger Isabel Hoffman: “April fools'”

Introduction of new blogger Isabel Hofman, postdoc at Karolinska Institutet

1st of April 2017 at Brussels Airport

  • You are on standby, do you know what that means?
  • Hmm I don’t think so
  • If there is still room on the plane, you can fly, but they will have to check at the gate.

I hadn’t bothered to check in online the day before I flew to Sweden because I had to check in my luggage anyway. What could go wrong? At the check-in counter I could not be guaranteed a seat on the plane. Information at the ticketing desk was not a big help either. Although at least the girl there was very sympathetic and told me she “hoped” I would get to fly. Ah yes, very reassuring.

At the gate it became clear that I was one of three people on standby for the flight to Stockholm. If a passenger didn’t turn up, I would get their seat, but for now all I could do was wait. So I sat back down and continued chatting with my unsuspecting friends and family. Not to worry them, I didn’t tell them of my bumpy start to my grand adventure. Fortunately, after a few anxious minutes, I got my boarding pass personally handed to me. Luck was on my side, because not only did I get a seat, I got an upgrade that even included a free meal!

So there I was, well-fed and excited, starting a new scientific chapter in my career on April fools’ day. After studying fundamental neurobiology for my master thesis and ribosomal mutations in cancer for my PhD, I was switching fields again to become a postdoctoral researcher in stem cell biology of myelodysplastic syndromes. Inevitably, this involved loads of reading and even some writing as we explored the different ways my project would go.

Two years later, the experiments are now well under way but I still set aside quite some time to read the scientific literature and news, both in my field and beyond. Hearing about the newest developments in single cell technologies, or how neurobiology researchers can take advantage of nuclear bomb tests of the past, reminds me how creative and innovative our jobs can be!

In my blog series KI Research Spotlight, I would like to share this enthusiasm with you. I will write highlights about recent research performed at KI aimed at both researchers and at a broader public. I hope to see you around, and you can always drop me a line to let me know which recent research inspired you! 🙂

Pictures taken by me

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