Hej everyone,
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Igor Baars, one of the 15 early stage researchers in the DNA-robotics network. I am working in Björn Högberg’s group at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, in a city called Hoorn, a bit north of Amsterdam. Throughout the course of my high school, I became fascinated by many forms of science, especially biology, chemistry and physics. So, when the time came to decide what I wanted study and what my future career would be, the choice to study to become a scientist was rather easy.

So, when I was 18 years old, I started my BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Amsterdam. This also meant that I was spending most of my time in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Throughout the course of my BSc I studied hard but, at one point, I decided that I wanted a bit more challenge in my education. So, I decided to do many additional subjects on top of my normal program, ranging from bioinformatics to neurobiology to psychology and even a subject that touched upon law. This decision gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, explore other fields and meet many new and interesting people with many different interests.

One of the many views found in Amsterdam.

At the end of my BSc, I was yet again confronted with the question of what I would do later. As a person who is interested in many different themes, this question was not the easiest to answer, but based on my interest in molecular biology and neurobiology, I decided to try my hand on the MSc in molecular neurosciences, also at the University of Amsterdam. During my masters, I found out about DNA nanotechnology and the research Björn’s group was doing. Fascinated by the concept, I reached out to Björn and asked if I could do my master thesis at his lab. He agreed and not long after my life in Sweden began.

One of the snowy winters in Stockholm.

I arrived in the beginning of January, and while I still had to get used to the snowy winters, I enjoyed my time in Stockholm a lot, meeting new and interesting people in the lab and of course learning many new skills and techniques in DNA nanotechnology. During my master thesis I really enjoyed working there, so when I learned about this ITN position, I felt that a PhD in DNA nanotechnology would be the step I would want to take. So, now I am working on DNA nanostructures that will cluster proteins on receptors to increase their activity. I am eager to work on this project and in the next blogpost I will tell you more about it. Until then!

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