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Choosing the Less Traveled Road

Lars Jansen from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Gulbenkian Institute for Science) in Oeiras, Portugal, is featured In the Career Profile section of the AAAS Science journal. According to the article, Jansen's career started with a presentation at the 1999 ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis.

"Lars Jansen was halfway through his Ph.D. at Leiden University in his native Holland when he presented his work in a plenary session at the 1999 American Society for Microbiology conference on DNA repair and mutagenesis at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The talk won Jansen accolades and postdoc offers, but the most valuable thing it gave him was "a chance to talk to even senior scientists that would normally never talk to a Ph.D. student," Jansen says. It was, he says, "a turning point" in his scientific career. From then on, "I knew that I was actually made to do this."

But "this" turned out to be something other than the field of DNA repair. By the time he finished his Ph.D., Jansen didn't see many more exciting questions to solve, so he decided to move to the emerging area of epigenetics, where he cracked another long-standing problem during a postdoc at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Today, Jansen, at 36, heads his own Laboratory for Epigenetic Mechanisms at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal, a move he supported with a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant from the European Commission and an Installation Grant from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). "

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