With less than three months to go to until the launch of GapSummit 2018 in historical Cambridge, UK, we wanted to catch up with our alumni on their journey after attending a previous GapSummit and share tips to this year's Leaders of Tomorrow. It is an immense pleasure to see our talented Leaders of Tomorrow follow their passion and pursue even greater career heights.
Today, we had a chance to chat to Dr Andreas Laustsen, a serial entrepreneur who was also recently named “Denmark's coolest engineer”. Andreas has also been honoured locally and globally last year including being awarded the Lundbeck Foundation Talent Prize for top Danish young scientist, and being on both MIT Review's Innovators Under 35 list and the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Photo Credit: Michael Barrett Boesen
He first got involved with Global Biotech Revolution as a Leader of Tomorrow at the GapSummit2016 and he has stayed in touch with both the GBR team and other alumni since.
Currently Andreas is sharing his vast expertise by mentoring one of the teams entering the 2018 Voices of Tomorrow competition, who are working hard on their proposals for the upcoming event.
Andreas, where were you at the time of attending the GapSummit?
Two months before I attended GapSummit, I had just handed in my PhD dissertation at the University of Copenhagen. I was at Cambridge to perform additional experiments related to my research before moving to the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to continue my research on snakebite antivenoms.
What was your greatest learning after attending the GapSummit?
My biggest learning from GapSummit is probably how varied the relationship between academia and government can be in different countries; even in countries that seem very similar.
Can you tell us more about the ventures and projects you have been involved in after the GapSummit?
After the GapSummit, I started my own research group, the Tropical Pharmacology Lab at DTU, where we focus on developing affordable biotherapeutics against neglected tropical diseases, and snakebite in particular. Research has been exceeding expectations, and together with our collaborators from Cambridge (Iontas) and Costa Rica (Instituto Clodomiro Picado), we have managed to develop the world’s first recombinant antivenom based on a cocktail of human monoclonal antibodies using phage display. This achievement combined with a few other things have resulted in my recent promotion to the youngest Associate Professor in Tropical Pharmacology and Biotherapeutics at DTU.
Besides my research, I have co-founded five additional biotech companies and have become an advisor for the World Health Organisation on prevention and treatment of snakebite envenoming.
Finally, do you have any tips for the GapSummit 2018 Leaders of Tomorrow?
To get the most out of GapSummit, it is important to keep an open mind, be outgoing, and have a positive and curious attitude toward your fellow participants. There is a lot of talent, and it is a fantastic opportunity to learn from like-minded young scientists with very different backgrounds.
Although I cannot claim to have the recipe for success, I personally believe that to become successful it is important to be a good collaborator, to care about your friends and colleagues, and help others reach their goals. Very few projects can be tackled individually, and to solve most of the challenges that humanity is faced with, it is important to be a team player. In addition to this, hard work is always needed to achieve success. Finally, it is important to engage in activities and solve problems that you are really passionate about, as this passion will fuel the hard work during tough times.
For further information on Andreas' ventures, please go to:
- Tropical Pharmacology Lab showcasing academic interests
- Bactolife focusing on infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
- Chromologics focusing on fermentation of natural food colorants
- Antag Therapeutics focusing on metabolic diseases
- VenomAid Diagnostics start-up project in the process of being founded as a spin-off from the Tropical Pharmacology Lab