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With a strong connection and loyalty to EMV - She is the new Deputy Head of Department


Olga Göransson. Photo: Agata Garpenlind

Olga Göransson, 46, a mother of two and Professor, is EMV´s new Deputy Head of Department. Congratulations Olga! Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

– I feel a strong connection and loyalty to our department having been a member of it (except from some years abroad) all the way back since 1997 when part of it was based at the chemical centre. The experimental and basic science focus of the department is very well in line with my own identity as a researcher and I believe strongly in the importance of conducting high quality molecular and mechanistic research also within medical faculties. For a few years now I have been engaged in leadership and other tasks at the Faculty and at different teaching levels, but less so at the Department level. I always felt that I was supported by colleagues and leaders of the Department and would now like to give back by engaging in the new Executive Group.

 What experience do you have of leadership?

– I have lead my own research group since 2008 and acted as Head of the Section for Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology since 2013. Moreover, I have past and active commitments as course leader and examiner in the Biomedicine- and PhD programs, as well as in the executive groups of past and current strategic networks for diabetes research. Recently I also took on the role as Chair of the Nominating Committee at the Faculty.

How would you describe your leadership style?

– I´m organised, efficient and I think rather energetic. I easily get engaged in things and like expressing my point of view. Over the years I have practised becoming better at listening more to others.

How do you view your new role?

– I regard my role as three-fold; first, I will, like the two other vice heads, have a special area of responsibility – in my case most likely research studies, or teaching at the basic and advanced levels. Secondly, I will be part of the executive group, in which I hope we will work as a team to support each other and our Department Head, Tomas Deierborg. Thirdly, when needed I will fill in for Tomas as Head of Department.

How will the department benefit from your past experience and interests? Which are these experiences an interests?

– As mentioned, I have a strong commitment to teaching and teaching development, both in the Biomedicine and Medicine programs, and have a good grasp of what type of teachers these programs need. I´m hoping to encourage our teachers to engage in teacher training and support them in finding teaching assignments suitable for them. As responsible for the PhD course Generic knowledge and skills (portfolio) I have learnt a lot about the strengths and challenges of the PhD program at our faculty. Publication requirements, financing, assessment and career opportunities are issues that are important to pre-clinical PhD students and that I would like to engage in. 

What work related issues are you personally very committed to?

– Supervision of co-workers and discussing the results they generate is a favourite activity. But I´m also quite committed to my undergraduate teaching. I really like PBL-tutoring as well as working in teams of teachers, for example with producing and grading written exams.

Tell us, in a layman manner, about your research.

– The focus of my group (Protein phosphorylation unit) is how hormones and other signals control the function of fat cells. In a wider perspective, we are interested in finding out whether dysfunctional signalling in fat cells might contribute to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Why did you become a researcher?

– I’m a rather rational, logical-way-of thinking kind of person and I have always loved science, in particular chemistry and cell biology. I like asking the question “why” and finding out how things work. I was always attracted by the academic world – the freedom and the possibility of life-long learning.

What do you like most about the job as a researcher?

– Even though I really like the research as such, the best thing about being a researcher is actually to work with such fantastic colleagues and co-workers. Also, I would not like research as much if I wasn’t also doing teaching. It´s the variation, and meeting bright and engaged students and colleagues that I enjoy the most. 

How much research will you do now, with your new position?

– Roughly 50%. 

How would you describe yourself?

– Engaged, positive and talkative. A bit bossy.

What do you do on evenings and weekends? Favorite pasttime?

– In the evenings I either spend time with my kids, such as watching our favourite tv shows Fråga Lund, På Spåret or Bäst i test, or I go to the stable to ride Winja, a charming and talented ten-year-old dressage lady. I spend many weekends, and find peace, in my country house in the woods west of Ravlunda in Österlen, in eastern Skåne. I´m the type of person that gladly mixes work with my private life, so I also work many evenings and weekends.

What are you most proud of?

– That’s a difficult one, but I have to say my children. Professionally; my PhD students!

Morning or night person?

– Definitely morning.

Favorite food?

– Breakfast.

Secret talent?

– None whatsoever I think. When we were at the Museum of Life here in Lund, it turned out I have the strongest hands in our Section, but I’m not sure this counts as a talent….

Olga Maria Göransson, Professor and new Deputy Head of Department 

Age: 46 (not much longer)

Lives: In a 5-room rental flat in Bredgatan here in Lund and in a house outside Ravlunda, Österlen

Family: Two kids, 9 and 11, and our two cats Sixten and Douglas. I’m also very close to my parents and my four sisters and their families

Education: MSc in biochemistry 

Professional background: PhD in Cell and Molecular biology, postdoc in Scotland at the MRC protein phosphorylation unit. PI at EMV since 2008.

Time in Lund and EMV? I was born and raised in Lund, except for five years in Simrishamn as a teenager. I did my PhD in The Dept of Cell- and Molecular Biology, which later, together with the physiology department became EMV. With the exception of my three-year postdoc abroad, I have been in the EMV environment since 1997.

Your research described in one sentence: Characterisation of protein phosphorylation networks in adipocytes and deciphering their role in adipocyte function and in the development of obesity-induced insulin resistance.

By Agata Garpenlind

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