Talented master student receives Novo scholarship

Friday 29 Nov 19


About the master thesis

Title: Decoding type 3 diabetes: Improved delivery of GLP-1R agonists to the brain

The focus of the master thesis project is on new methods of transferring drugs that can be absorbed into the brain and which can be used for new types of treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

The project will include peptide synthesis, design and synthesis of an enzyme degradable linker which is attached to the drug and then, by bioconjugation, attached to a single-domain antibody. The antibody helps transport the drug to the brain, after which the linker is selectively cleaved and the drug is released.

Supervisor at the master thesis: Assistant Professor, Katrine Qvortrup, DTU

Student at DTU Chemistry Tobias Nørby Hansen has been selected to receive the Novo Nordisk Foundation scholarship, which is awarded to the country's most talented master students in the natural sciences.

With financial support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation totalling DKK 35,000, it is now easier for Tobias Nørby Hansen to focus one hundred per cent on his chemistry thesis.

“I am proud and happy to receive the scholarship. It is a great recognition and means that I will be able to study full time without having to worry about finances,“ says Tobias, who likes to spend weekends in the laboratory, once he's obsessed with a scientific problem.

He is enrolled in the Master's programme in Applied Chemistry at DTU and will be starting his master thesis in the new year. Besides that, he is following DTU's Honours Programme for particularly talented students.

The Honours Programme means, among other things, that the students receive an individual study plan and a mentor in the form of an internationally recognized researcher, and that they are involved in one or more research projects. Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry at DTU Chemistry, Katrine Qvortrup is Tobias' mentor during the Honours Programme and is also supervisor of his master thesis project.

Cure for Alzheimer's

Tobias is particularly interested in organic chemistry, chemical biology, pharmaceutical industry and medical chemistry. He has therefore already worked on several research projects concerning improving medicine, and the thesis is no exception:

“My thesis is about finding and testing a new method of transferring the medicine to the central nervous system of the brain. Hopefully, the results may contribute to new treatment methods for Alzheimer's disease in the long term. Currently, 50 million people in the world are suffering from the disease, and this number is expected to increase to 152 million by 2050 unless we find new approaches to prevent or cure it,“ says Tobias.

He continues:

“It motivates me to see that what I learn and work within the lab can be used and benefit people in practice. It's one of the primary reasons I like to deal with developing new treatment strategies and better medicine."

Exchange student in Singapore

However, before starting on his master thesis, Tobias will have to complete his stay in Singapore, where he is on exchange at the National University of Singapore (NUS). At the moment, he is finishing the course part of his education.

“I chose to apply for an exchange in Singapore to experience a different learning culture and challenge myself at one of Asia's absolute top universities. Here I take courses based on the solid knowledge that I have acquired at DTU to expand my expertise in organic chemistry and the pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, I take a course in sustainable and green chemistry, as I find it extremely interesting, “says Tobias.

Dreaming of a PhD in the future

After his master thesis project, Tobias hopes to have the opportunity to write a PhD.

“I am passionate about my research, so if I get the opportunity to write a PhD, it is my immediate plan, and otherwise I hope to get a job where I can use my skills, either in the pharmaceutical industry or within the green change of society”, says Tobias.

About the Novo Scholarship Programme

The Novo Scholarship Programme is the Novo Nordisk Foundation's annual scholarship for master thesis writing. Novozymes is behind the grant together with Novo Nordisk, and it is awarded to some of the most talented students who write master thesis in Novo Nordisk's and Novozymes research areas.

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