Last year we interviewed Kara Nordin, who won the SDB poster prize at the ISDB meeting in Cancun. Kara’s prize was to travel to Warwick to attend this year’s BSCB/BSDB Spring meeting. Continuing the interview chain, Kara interviewed Zarah Löf-Öhlin, who won the BSDB poster prize there. As a prize, Zarah will be attending the coming SDB meeting in July, which will take place in Seattle, USA.
KN: Congratulations, your hard work paid off!
ZLÖ: Thank you!
KN: How are you feeling?
ZLÖ: Really good! It is amazing to win this prize.
KN: What does your lab work on?
ZLÖ: I work in Henrik Semb’s lab, at the Danish Stem Cell Centre in Copenhagen. Our lab is divided into two different branches. Half of the lab works on the developmental biology of the pancreas, trying to understand what it takes for β-cells to develop. The other half works on human embryonic stem cells, trying to differentiate them towards β-cells, making use of the information we get from the developmental side.
KN: How long have you been there?
ZLÖ: I started out in Henrik’s lab in 2008, in Lund. However, two years ago we moved to Copenhagen. I have been around for a while!
KN: Can you tell me more about your recent findings, and what you presented in your poster?
ZLÖ: My project tries to link polarity and differentiation. I am working on a small RhoGTPase called Rac1. My work investigates how this protein controls apical polarity in cells, and how apical polarity inhibits differentiation of β-cells.
KN: And what is next for you?
ZLÖ: There are still some details that I want to investigate in my project, before we tie it all together. We are looking into the mechanism behind our observations, and we have identified Pl3 kinase and EGF receptor signalling as being involved in this process. I am also in the final year of my PhD, so I definitely want to finish my thesis by the end of the year.
KN: Have you won poster prizes before at any other meeting?
ZLÖ: No. I came first runner up on the Stem Cell Niche meeting that took place in Copenhagen two years ago, but that was the closest I have ever got to winning a prize!
KN: And will you be attending the SDB meeting?
ZLÖ: It has been a great experience to attend this meeting, so yes, I hope so!