Mikael Tranholm, Industrial PhD Fellow, Novo Nordisk R&D STAR programme

When I’m not directing R&D

Being the father of two the work life balance is my highest priority. Going to the cinema and spending time with the kids is the best. Running is my relaxation and meditation, an excellent opportunity for reflection including solving of professional challenges, both scientific and managerial.

Mikael Tranholm

Industrial PhD Fellow

“The STAR funding gave me the opportunity to obtain my PhD in invivo pharmacology and led the way to my present position heading a research department at Novo Nordisk.”

My industry career started as a STAR fellow in 2000

In 2000 I was employed at Novo Nordisk A/S as a research scientist. Being a doctor of veterinary medicine, with seven years of experience from a clinical practice and five years from another pharmaceutical company I had never really had the time to do a PhD. The STAR programme changed that by providing me with the funding to be enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen, while holding a position as research scientist. My work was characterized by research support in existing projects in combination with protocols and intensive lab work to provide data for the hypothesis in my PhD project, which investigated the effects of recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) in experimental models of haemostasis.

PhD and head of a research department

Thinking back on that time it was lots of fun. Multiple activities were going on at the same time - including the management of 4-5 technicians. I enjoyed working in the lab, getting hands-on experience and engaging in direct problem solving. At the same time this period was characterized by intense networking including internal and external collaborations. After two and half years I was able to submit my PhD thesis including four papers, of which two were published in peer-reviewed journals. At the same time I was appointed manager of a new research department specifically defined to work with pharmacology in haemostasis. At that time we were eight people in the department. Now - almost six years later – we are 22 employees.

Supervision of PhD students

My burning passion is research, but over the years my focus has changed from being a specialist and active research scientist to more managerial tasks. I have successfully supervised one PhD student (funded by the STAR programme) and she is now employed in my department. The STAR funding gave me the opportunity to obtain my PhD in invivo pharmacology and led the way to my present position heading a research department at Novo Nordisk.