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.

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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.

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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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