Text written by Nóra Lehotai and Sarah Lundgren. Photo credits: Sarah Lundgren.
Sarah Lundgren joined MIMS in November 2020. She felt like coming home after living in the UK, Australia and Japan and nowadays she enjoys life in Umeå with her partner, Sam, and many more four legged friends. Enjoy the interview with Sarah!
Can you tell us about your role at MIMS, what are you working on now?
My main responsibility in the Oliver Billker’s lab here at MIMS, is the management of our insectary. We rear mosquito colonies for our malaria research, and I make sure that our scientists have access to mosquitoes for their various experiments. Besides running the insectary, I am also responsible for coordinating the logistics, and making sure that everything runs smoothly.
What were you doing before you joined MIMS and what attracted you to start a position here?
I have a background in biology and have previously worked as a research engineer in plant science before coming to MIMS. I was interested in learning more about pathogen interactions and have always been fascinated by insects, which resonated well with the open vacancy in Oliver’s lab. I had also recently returned to Umeå after a few years living overseas, and a new challenge was exactly what I was looking for.
How was it to start at a new workplace during the pandemic?
Starting the position during the pandemic was a challenge in itself, especially from a social point of view. I miss something as simple as a chat over a cup of coffee and the opportunity to get to know fellow labs in the department. Hopefully we can get on top of the situation soon so that we can start interacting with each other again.
If you would not have your current profession, what do you think you would be doing?
I like the lab environment and truly enjoy being a part of research. This is a very rewarding place to work, both on the personal and professional level. Although, if I would choose something completely different, I would likely pursue one of my other interests in some way or the other. For example, I have been curious about fungal cultivation for some time now and I would like to explore the establishment of a small-scale mushroom farm.
What do you do in your free time and what are you most enjoying in living in Umeå, Sweden?
Living this far north and close to nature, I find Umeå to be a great location for people who enjoy the outdoors. It is a privilege to easily access great areas in the region for somewhere you can hike and camp, forage for wild food and cook outdoors, or even go skiing or kayaking. There is something for all seasons! Umeå is also my hometown and I value having friends and family close by.
Photo: Sarah enjoys creating pottery in Japan.
Is there a little known/interesting fact about yourself?
I find creativity to be an important way of expression and I spend much time doing art and crafts. I love working with natural materials and the creative process of upcycling old items found after a good treasure hunt on one of the many flea markets around the area.