Holland, Japan, Canada, Texas, and beyond

Written by Christof Leicht

In summer 2015, when Video calls weren’t a standard thing yet, I had the pleasure to interview a fresh-looking, clean-shaven MSc student from the Netherlands that came highly recommended from his supervisor. After some deliberation whether the kitchen cupboards in the background or the choice of a casual T-shirt over shirt and tie should speak against him, Sven was appointed as my first PhD student. It was one of my best professional decisions ever.

These days Sven sports a beard and sometimes a tie and has become a fantastic colleague I have learnt a lot from. He has been a real asset to the Peter Harrison Centre, involved in an array of projects around low-cost and accessible interventions to promote cardiometabolic health. Growing as a researcher, Sven has joined labs and projects around the world. Friendly, competent, and inquisitive, he has developed the ability to pull teams together, connect research groups, support those who are learning from him, and develop great research ideas. As a result, he has been training mice and tracking down wheelchair racers in Japan (Wakayama Medical University), performing specialist blood analysis in Canada (McMaster University), and in the very near future, he will emigrate for a year to join Dr Trbovich’s team at the University of Texas (US) to investigate the effect of heat therapy on cardiometabolic health in persons with spinal cord injury. We will not lose him though – during his time in Texas Sven will be strongly associated with the PHC and Loughborough by being a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies.

Before the Texas adventure, Sven will take a well-deserved break cycling through Spain for two months. We all wish Sven the very best on both journeys (don’t break a leg!) and are looking forward to receiving postcards.