March 8 marks International Women's Day

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International Womens Day

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we celebrate all women in science and health. Novosanis is proud to consist of a diverse, and international team, with over 50% women. Read our CEO, Vanessa Vankerckhoven’s journey into the world of science, and how she is honoured to be called a #womeninscience.

Tell us your story - How did you enter the world of science?

Healthcare has always fascinated me.

It’s strange though as a child, I would be scared to go to visit a doctor, get an injection or anything of that sort. As soon as I learned more about biology and the human body, I slowly overcame this fear, and was fascinated by this world. I knew I wanted to be in it.

Initially I planned to be paediatrician and take care of little kids health. By the time I needed to make a choice for a university education, I decided to pursue research than medicine. Through research I wanted to find cures for children (and grown-ups).

After obtaining my Master’s in Biomedical Sciences, my dad encouraged me to go for a PhD. As medical microbiology attracted me most, I ended up doing a PhD on the gut microbiome and probiotics at the lab of Professor Dr. Herman Goossens.

What excites you most about your work?

Being able to make a change in healthcare and bring medical innovations to patients and the general public.

Healthcare is evolving so rapidly and it’s great to see how we’re moving into the personalised medicine era. I hope that our devices, Colli-Pee and VAX-ID and perhaps others in the future will be part of improved healthcare.

In most places, women are still underrepresented in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Novosanis stands out in this respect, as your team consists of many women. How does that make you feel?

We have a fantastic team that is indeed composed of mainly women with a Science degree.

I think it’s all about putting the right messages forward to encourage more girls to STEM. Hearing first-hand from women who work in science, as well as highlighting the contributions of many of the great women in science can really make a difference and be so inspiring.

Any advice/message you would give to young girls to inspire them to pursue STEM?

Life Sciences is such a fascinating world - don’t be scared of the unknown. Just go for it, create your own passion.