Chapter 22: Professor Susanne Mandrup
When Susanne Mandrup finished her master’s degree in 1988, the Research Council had just launched two master’s scholarships for women. Her supervisor at that time encouraged her to apply, and his colleague in another department offered her the chance to do molecular biology research on a particular protein with him.
“I called the Research Council, which advised me not to apply on the grounds that they only had two scholarships. But that did not stop me. I applied for it anyway – and got it. One should not be cowed by someone saying the chances are small.”
She had her first child one year into her scholarship and became pregnant with her second child while writing her thesis.
“For me, to have a family was most important, and if research could not be combined with that, I would choose family first. But at the same time, I found the research exciting, and I knew that if I was going to stay at the university, I would have to go abroad. But before I could leave, I had to wait for the children to grow up and be less dependent on me. In addition, I had to persuade my husband to go abroad. And as another example of not being cowed by the conventions, I received a post-doc scholarship from the Research Council, which, at that time, also demanded that it be used to study abroad. But the Council made an exception and allowed me to travel for the last six months of my scholarship and another six months after that.”
Mandrup wrote to two of the world’s leading laboratories in fat cell biology and ended up staying at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
“That stay abroad was transformative, even though it only lasted 14 months. It was a great environment, and I had an excellent mentor. I also had one good colleague in the laboratory who is still a close friend of mine and who is on our advisory board at my Center of Excellence. My husband and children were with me in Baltimore from 1995 to 1996. My husband, who is a pastor, got a substitute to cover his position in Northern Funen and volunteered at an American church. It was a successful experience for the whole family. We all cried when we went home.”
You can read the full portrait of Professor Susanne Mandrup by downloading the chapter below. (In Danish)