National Postdoc Appreciation Week: Dr. Anna Herrmann is combining the power of biology and chemistry to help the body fight off diseases

In honour of National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW), we spoke with different Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates at the CBR to highlight their research, share their stories and celebrate their journeys.

Dr. Anna Herrmann, Postdoctoral Scientist – Kizhakkedathu Lab

Tell me about your research.

We are trying to treat sepsis, an over-inflammation of the body and still leads to patients dying from it due to a lack of treatment. We are using the combined power of biology and chemistry with the goal to target and rehabilitate affected cell surfaces. By mimicking naturally occurring sugar units, we are trying to help the body fight off such inflammatory diseases!

What led you to the lab?

I did my PhD in Germany and had listened to a talk given by Jay [Kizhakkedathu], who I work for now. I really liked his presentation and his research, so when I heard he had an open position after completing my PhD, I took the chance and moved to Vancouver. It took a bit of courage because of the pandemic and working in a completely new field of research but I’m so glad I did. I learned a lot and had a great experience. 

What do you enjoy most about science?

I enjoy that there are lots of opportunities to go in whatever direction you want to go. There’s also never just one single path to resolve your (research) problems. As overwhelming as it can be, I learned to appreciate it and see it as an advantage. Finally, and maybe most importantly, I like how diverse and international research is and that it allows us to travel, work and collaborate across borders.

What do you do outside the lab?

I love doing all sorts of outdoor activities like snowboarding and snow shoeing in the winter. I also hiked the Juan de Fuca trail and also went on a 5-day kayaking tour. This year, I tried wheel throwing, pottery and tie dyeing. I enjoy traveling, going to see concerts or dance performances. Lastly, I also love just hanging out at the beach or at a bar with my friends.

Thank you for speaking with us, Anna! Learn more about National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) 2023 at UBC which recognizes the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to research and discovery.