BCDRN Spotlight: Dr Søs Skovsø, Research Associate, UBC Vancouver

BCDRN Spotlight: Dr Søs Skovsø, Research Associate, UBC Vancouver

This quarter we shine a spotlight on BCDRN trainee Dr Søs Skovsø. Søs completed her Post Doctoral Research Fellowship training and became a Research Associate in the Johnson Laboratory in the Life Sciences Institute at the UBC Vancouver campus. Learn more about Sos and her journey from Denmark to Canada to pursue her passion for science and healthy living with a positive outlook and good sense of humour along the way. On behalf of everyone in the diabetes research community we want to thank Søs for her many positive contributions. As she leaves to explore new directions, we are grateful for her many lasting impacts.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark. In elementary school my dad would drive me through the busy morning traffic to school and my mom would take me to ballet, swimming or athletics sessions after school until I learned to commute by bus myself. Later, I’d spent all my hours outside of a sports focused high school on the track, practicing to run 100m as fast as I could! Holidays were spent in our summerhouse or in a tent somewhere in Scandinavia with my parents.

What did you study in your undergrad and where?

I studied Molecular Biomedicine at University of Copenhagen. A research-oriented Bachelor of Science program focusing on molecular pathology of several diseases. I was lucky to also get the opportunity to be an international exchange student at National University of Singapore for a while. This was my first proper experience living abroad.

What got you interested in diabetes research?

Honestly, today it seems like a bit of a coincidence that I ended up in the world of diabetes research. In Denmark you normally finish a 2 year Masters degree before you move on to apply for 3-year Phd programs. I’d studied Akt and PKC signaling in endothelial cells as a part of my MSc research project at University of Copenhagen and San Diego University of California. I applied for PhD projects which were all related to physiology, nutrition, and insulin. Somehow, I ended up being offered three positions on a random Friday in November. I picked the offer, which was a collaboration between University of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk. And so my adventure in the world of diabetes research began.

How far along are you in your degree and what do you hope to achieve in 2021 with your research?

These days I’m waiting to hear back from the editorial decision following a resubmission of my large postdoctoral project. It would be wonderful to share this work in its fullest version with the worldly diabetes community. I have completed my postdoctoral studies and worked as a research associate for the past two years. Recently, I decided that it is time for me to press pause on life and take a moment to see what opportunities wait for me around the corner.

Any funny stories to share with the trainee community?

My partner has often made up jokes based on research I’ve conveyed to him. They have made me laugh over and over again. Here is one example:

Why couldn’t you find the alpha cell who’d turned into a beta cell?
– Because it had Gluca-gone… ! =)

Any advice for trainees starting out on how to connect with colleagues?

Go and talk to them! No need to be shy.

What was your favourite research event/meeting to attend?

That’s really hard to pick one! ADA in New Orleans in 2015 was great fun. It was the first time I presented the pilot data of my PDF project. However, the three EASD meetings I attended will always have a special place in my heart. These meetings make you feel like you are part of something bigger. They made me feel like my scientific research matters and I got to connect with researchers from all over the world. I used to always visit family in Denmark right after these meetings too, which was an added benefit. While the big meetings are standing out on their own, I think it is the local meetings here in BC that are making up the strong foundation of the west coast diabetes trainee community. It is outstanding in so many ways.

The past year has been a pandemic and travel has been restricted. When travel is allowed, where do you want to go and why?

I actually went back home to Denmark in April to spend time with my family and close friends. It has been hard to be separated over such a big distance. Next time I’ll probably go home once again.


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