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Inhye Park sits at a desk with a computer on it, in front of a wide window.

“My fellowship has highlighted the importance to work closely with industry to accelerate the translation of my research to tackle cardiovascular disease”

Dr Inhye Park describes how her Postdoctoral Fellowship between the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford has strengthened her research into Cardiovascular Disease. She describes the benefits of working between academic and industrial labs within a few metres of each other, and the collaborative networks that have allowed her to develop scientifically and professionally.

Q: Hi Inhye! Can you tell me about your collaboration with Novo Nordisk?

A: I was awarded a Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to investigate the novel molecular mechanisms how vascular macrophages promote tissue homeostasis and protect from cardiovascular disease. My project is based in the Kennedy Institute with Professor Claudia Monaco and the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford (NNRCO) with Dr Alexey Epanchintsev across the street from each other.

As part of my work, I am looking for molecular targets that drive protective functions in vascular macrophages. In the NNRCO, I am setting up the in vitro target identification and validation platform including CRISPR and high-throughput screening. My exposure to the NNRCO has greatly supported my research and enabled me to build my own expertise beyond immunology.


Q: In what way, what kinds of new areas have you been exposed to?

A: On the technical side, Novo Nordisk have great facilities including discovery screening technologies which I can access. But collaborating with industry has also led me to view science from broader perspectives. As an academic scientist, I often look at a very small, focussed area, whereas companies have hundreds of collaborations all working at the same time. Working across academia and industry I’m better able to see the big picture and how my research can contribute to the discovery of new drugs that improve human health. I’m also better at project management and feel more independent as a scientist thanks to the dedicated scientific support and mentorship from my supervisors.


Q: You mentioned that you have a supervisor at Novo Nordisk, what is your broader network like?

A: I’m part of a whole network of postdoctoral fellows working between the NNRCO and various research institutes in Oxford. We all travel together to an annual research symposium in Favrholm in Denmark and visit Malov, where Novo Nordisk’s main research site is located in Denmark. During this symposium we meet postdocs from other academic institutes including Karolinska Institute and scientists from Novo Nordisk itself. At this conference we usually take the opportunity to meet others with similar research themes to share ideas and network. Also, as part of our fellowship we have the opportunity to work at the research site for a few months which is an excellent thing to do.

Specifically, I am planning to propose collaborations with the Vascular Biology department at Novo Nordisk’s research site in Denmark. I will also get involved in new collaborations on other projects by providing my expertise in single cell technologies in the NNRCO.


Q: What type of career paths do people follow after this type of industry-collaborative fellowship?

A: Fellows have moved to various sectors including establishing their own research in academia, joining industry as scientists or scientific liaisons, joining the government, or setting up their own business related to their work.