Combining biochemistry and communication
Niels Højsgaard Jørgensen, with a bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology from the University of Copenhagen, has chosen Medicines and Society as his area of specialisation.
My aim is to put together a master’s programme that combines the natural and social sciences, and my ambition is to be the link between the real world and science.
I became interested in biochemistry early on as an undergraduate and I wrote my final project on protein chemistry. At almost the same time I got a job as a student counsellor, where communication skills were crucial, and I had to draw on my understanding of human nature and ability to resolve conflicts. I really liked the challenge and started to dream about an education that would allow me to combine the natural sciences with communication and administrative skills.
Window to the world
I’m keenly interested in clinical trials, and I have taken many elective courses in clinical research. It is super that students at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences can work so closely with industry. For example, in the course on pharmacokinetics, we made theoretical calculations on the possible effect of drugs in the body. Later a scientist from industry visited the class and showed us that they use exactly the same methods. That direct coupling to the real world is really effective.
My individually tailored curriculum includes marketing, which has also given me insight about the many players on the drug scene. There is no reason to hold back. There is a wealth of opportunity to follow your own ideas in building an interesting curriculum – and there are academic advisers to guide you on your way.
"I’m keenly interested in clinical trials, and I have taken many elective courses in clinical research. It is super that students at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences can work so closely with industry. For example, in the course on pharmacokinetics, we made theoretical calculations on the possible effect of drugs in the body.
Medicine use by pregnant women
I will be writing my thesis in cooperation with Copenhagen University Hospital on medicine use by pregnant women. New drugs are almost always tested on healthy young men, which is why we don’t know much about the consequences of pregnant women’s medicine consumption. My job will be to extract statistical data from the hospitals’ databases in order to obtain an overview of how much prescription medicine pregnant women take nationwide. The project is right down my alley – I’ll be getting a mountain of numbers to crunch, but it will be possible to draw some social science conclusions from the results.
The drug industry is the most highly regulated industry in the world after aviation. I have an interesting and relevant student job at Sandoz, the international drug company, where I handle the registration of unintended drug reactions. After I graduate, I would also like to work with clinical monitoring. That means monitoring clinical trials all over the world, having contact with the doctors conducting the trials and making sure that everything is being done for the benefit of the patient.
I’ve been interested in student politics for years, and have continued my involvement at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. It has been a real pleasure to work with academic staff and my fellow students on the structure of the programmes and research strategy for the future. I have been at the table with the Study Board as well as the Academic Council.
The experience has been very positive, even though I have a different academic background than most of the others. There is good teamwork at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the advisory bodies take a highly professional approach to their work. There is plenty of opportunity to influence programme content.