Research internship at the IFB AdiposityDiseases - Experiences of a Danish student (part 1)

The IFB AdiposityDiseases offers students of medicine and natural sciences the chance to get an insight into medical research via an internship-program in its various research fields.

IFB-Forschungspraktikant Bror Tobiasen
The Danish sudent of veterinary medicine Bror Tobiasen appreciated his internship at the IFB in 2016. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)
Bror Tobiasen is studying veterinary medicine at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

The IFB supports students and young scientists via its internship- (MS Pro) and junior research-programs (MD Pro 1 and MD Pro 2). This year a Danish student seized the opportunity to get an internship in Leipzig, Germany. Here is his report about his research- and Leipzig-adventure:

My name is Bror Tobiasen. I am 24 years old and study veterinary medicine at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. During my course of studies I have tried to focus on my qualifications within the fields of biomedicine and research. I have always wanted to find out if a career in research was of special interest to me. Through different courses I have developed a keen interest in subjects such as endocrinology, pharmacology, physiology, as well as working with and developing animal models. I am very much interested in topics  like obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, brown and beige adipose tissue, and also, the interaction between these topics. So when I accidentally stumbled upon the possibility to  participate in a research internship in obesity at the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases in Leipzig, I knew that this was my chance to get some first-hand experience in the clinical-scientific field of research and even within a topic of my interest.

Leipziger Augustusplatz
Bror very much liked the city of Leipzig - here the Augustus-Square and the Opera. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

I applied for the research group of Dr. Nora Klöting-Blüher because her project “Animal models in obesity”, really drew my attention: It approaches the complex pathogenesis, genetics and mechanisms of obesity, with the aim to identify genes that are involved in adiposity regulation and metabolism. Besides joining a research group, the internship would also consist of an accompanying theoretical teaching program with weekly sessions, held by IFB project leaders,  which would be a good way to   overview of the many aspects of obesity research. So I didn’t think twice before sending an application.

I was lucky and got the internship and  quickly realized that I was going to be in Germany for two months, living in a city I knew nothing about; pretty intimidating but most of all really exciting.  Without much previous knowledge of Leipzig, I had to get some help from Google. After a quick search, I realized that Leipzig seemed like an interesting city with an exciting cultural history: it was a part of the previous GDR and was home to some of the biggest musicians and poets. Getting all the practical aspects arranged was a bit overwhelming, because I had to finish a major exam before leaving, but luckily it all worked out for me and I managed to find a really nice room via a housing-website. The room was in a shared apartment with four other German students and located just  five minutes away from the laboratory I was going to work at.

IFB Forschungslabor
In the IFB research laboratories Bror learnt a lot about the practical lab work. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

I would say the most challenging part of arranging this internship was to fit the internship into my study plan, but with some help from the Student and Career Guidance of my university it all worked out and as soon as the paperwork was done I was ready to go.
Fast forward a few weeks: I found myself in Leipzig and the first day of the internship had come. Of course I was a bit anxious, because I’ve had all these expectations of the internship and they were soon to be tested.

The internship kick-started with a seminar about stigmatization-research in obesity held by Dr. Claudia Luck-Sikorski. It was a really good beginning, and it gave an overview of the many dilemmas and multifactorial influences in the world of obesity. This seminar also offered a good opportunity to meet the other interns, and to discover that we all were in the same boat. Since we didn’t really know anyone in Leipzig, this facilitated quick bonding. Following the seminar, it was time to meet our project groups. After a short introduction I was showed around in the research facility and introduced to my colleagues.

Bror Tobiasen

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How did it go on for Bror and his internship? You can learn about this in part 2 of his report.  Information on the IFB internship program MS Pro you can find here.