scientists, lab, internship, writing

Interview with Ph.D. student Silvia Lopez

By screening and applying Chr. Hansen’s many bacterial strains, Silvia strives to find a candidate that may help support healthy liver function. Read about her motivation for this project and why she chose to work with Chr. Hansen for her Ph.D.

Silvia Lopez

About Silvia Lopez

Age: 28

BSc. Nutrition and Dietetics
MSc. Nutrition and Health. Food Digestion and Health Specialization 
Ph.D. in Microbiology second year.

Escuela de Dietética y Nutrición, Mexico
Wageningen University, Netherlands
Jena University, Germany


Why have you chosen to work with Chr. Hansen for your Ph.D.?

It has always been my goal and dream to develop a product that could help people to improve their health. Finding the right place to pursue my ideologies, perspectives and objectives was challenging. However, Chr. Hansen ended up as a perfect match, due to the company being a pioneer and leader on food ingredients and sustainability with a clear ambition and vision towards human health research.


When did you start working in Chr. Hansen?

I started in November 2019. I am part of the project BestTreat, which is part of a European Consortia named “Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network”. I am based at Chr. Hansen Hørsholm, where I conduct all my experiments and research, and then I’m enrolled at Jena University in Germany. Part of my program is also a research stay at Amsterdam Medical Center.


What is your research project about, and why do you find it interesting?

My project is about screening Chr. Hansen’s many strains and applying different molecular technologies to identify a candidate that may support healthy liver function. It’s a great opportunity to have hands-on experience and thrive on research while bridging the gap between industry and academia.


How do you experience the teamwork and sparring with your colleagues?

The teamwork at the Human Health Research department is unbelievably fascinating. I have felt welcome and supported by my colleagues in any aspect from day one. Everyone has different backgrounds and experiences, so there’s always something new to learn from them, and they are more than willing to help, guide and share knowledge. I also admire the work ethics – my colleagues are really engaged and hardworking, and it’s an inspirational environment to work in.


What’s the best about writing a Ph.D. with Chr. Hansen? / What would you say is unique for working with Chr. Hansen?

So far, writing a Ph.D. here has been full of fun and positive challenges. I also enjoy and highly benefit from receiving great feedback from experts in order to improve my skills and boost my career as a scientist.

It's my first experience working in the industry, but something that has surprised me is the caring towards the company’s employees – especially during this chaotic situation with COVID-19. Also, its openness and transparency, and the way the company involves and includes all of us regardless of our position and title in Chr. Hansen.


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