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Award winner discovered her career path at the age of 15

By chance, Trine Hyrup Mogensen found her way into a laboratory as part of her work experience during the final year of school. Now she is an elite, international researcher and the first recipient of the Jens Christian Skou Award.

2016.10.17 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen

Trine Hyrup Mogensen receives the award for young research talents, which is named after Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou. The award was presented at an event held at Health on 6 October 2016. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU.

Trine Hyrup Mogensen receives the award for young research talents, which is named after Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou. The award was presented at an event held at Health on 6 October 2016. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU.

While out running on a sunny September morning, Trine Hyrup Mogensen’s telephone rings. She answers the call, even though she is standing beside the ring road trying to get her breathe back. On the other end of the line is Health's former dean, Allan Flyvbjerg. He is calling to tell her that she has been chosen to receive the faculty's newly established talent award; The Jens Christian Skou Award.

Surprised while out running

"It is a great honour to receive the Jens Christian Skou award. Not least when you have studied and work at AU, where Skou carried out his ground-breaking research, which later led to the Nobel Prize. It is recognition and a pat on the back for me and for the type of research I work on," says the happy award winner.

Trine Hyrup Mogensen is associate professor and specialty registrar, PhD, DMSc. She is employed as a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Biomedicine and Department of Clinical Medicine, and as a specialty registrar at the Department of Infectious Diseases in a joint position. Here she works in the field of basic immunology and microbiology on the one hand, and infectious diseases on the other.

Trine Hyrup Mogensen uses her translational research to try and build bridges between basic research areas and clinical practice. Her goal is to learn about the immune system’s fight against infections and – in the longer term – to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of patients with infectious diseases.

Two sources of inspiration led to a research career

As a matter of fact, Trine Hyrup Mogensen never wanted to become either a medical doctor or researcher. She wanted to be a journalist or author. But as the local newspaper did not have room for her to take her work experience during the final year of school, by chance she instead ended up taking it with Associate Professor Steffen Junker at what was then The Department of Human Genetics. He later turned out to be an important mentor and a source of inspiration for Trine Hyrup Mogensen.

"During the work experience with Steffen Junker I got an insight into a magical world. I become fascinated by the research. The whole process, staring with the puzzlement and questions, then the experiments and finally the results. It seemed compelling to me. From then I knew that research was what I wanted to do," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen.

Another great and almost unavoidable source of inspiration is Trine Hyrup Mogensen's father. Søren Mogensen is professor of virology and a former dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at AU. 

"I have been to work with my father at the university since I was really little. I was allowed to come into the laboratory and look through the microscope. Even though it was exciting, I had never imagined that I would follow in his footsteps and become a doctor. Better to be a molecular biologist. But here I am now with a foot in both camps," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen, whose talent lies in operating in the field between the two disciplines.

International aspect creates results and job satisfaction

Trine Hyrup Mogensen has studied at The Nektar Hospital and The Pierre and Marie Curie University (UMPC) in Paris, at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in USA. She has learned much from studying abroad, both personally and academically, and she appreciates the international aspect of being a researcher.

"For example, in Cleveland I learned that it is alright to ring to the most talented researcher in a field, regardless of whether it is to ask for help, or whether it is to take the initiative for collaboration. That was not how I found the culture to be in Denmark. But I have brought it home with me. By being open and proactive, I have now established a large network of really talented national and international researchers that I can draw on. It is invaluable for my research and also for my job satisfaction," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen, who also points to her managers when talking about results and job satisfaction.

"I have been fortunate to enjoy really good working conditions here in Denmark at both the university and the infectious diseases department. Both have shown me a high level of trust from when I was a very junior researcher. I have been given free rein by managers to pursue the projects that I found exciting. That is a privilege," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen.

Professional and private cooperation

Trine Hyrup Mogensen is 43 years old. She is married to Professor Søren Riis Paludan, and they have three daughters together: 12-year-old Marie, 9-year-old Louise, and 5-year-old Stine. Søren Riis Paludan is employed at The Department of Biomedicine, where the couple are colleagues and have both individual and joint research projects.

"It requires prioritisation and discipline to combine family life with two research careers. But we do our best to avoid compromising the one or the other. On the other hand, we are very conscious about prioritising the things that we believe are important and fun, both professionally and personally. And we are also simply good at sharing our enthusiasm for research with each other," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen.

I will go as far as I can

Trine Hyrup Mogensen has high ambitions and wants to be among the best in the world within her field.

"My goal is to make a difference and make my mark. I want to be involved in shaping both my field of research and patient treatment in the future. The driving force for me is the fascination and pleasure I take in my work and my field. I also feel I am very privileged to be able to combine basic research and clinical work, so I can both contribute to and experience the best of two worlds," says Trine Hyrup Mogensen.

Trine Hyrup Mogensen will receive the award at an event at the faculty on Thursday 6 October 2016, at which Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou will also be present.

Trine Hyrup Mogensen's research career in brief

  • Pre-graduate studies at The Nektar Hospital and The Pierre and Marie Curie University (UMPC) in Paris in 1992
  • MD from AU in 2002 and PhD from AU in 2003
  • Research year in human genetics at AU in 1996-1997 + one year at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 1998-1999
  • DMSc in 2009
  • Diploma in Tropical Medicine from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2013
  • Medical specialist in infectious diseases in 2014

See who Trine Hyrup Mogensen has cooperated with and her list of publications on her PURE profile.

The Jens Christian Skou Award is given to the brightest talents

The Jens Christian Skou award is awarded annually to a particularly promising junior researcher who has delivered excellent research within one or more of the Faculty of Health Science’s research areas.

The new award is given to a junior researcher who is among the international elite. This researcher must be extraordinarily talented within his or her field of research and has to have already documented exceptional research creativity and productivity.

Read more about the Jens Christian Skou award in the article "Junior research talents to be honoured with new award at Health".

Watch the video of Trine talking about her research and her reaction to being named the first recipient of the Jens Christian Skou award (in Danish).




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