Trond Vidar Hansen

Position: Research Associate in the laboratory of Nobel laureate K. Barry Sharpless.

Projects: Learning about "click chemistry," a modular protocol for organic synthesis developed by Sharpless and colleagues, and applying this knowledge to his project on peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs). PPARs are important for lipid metabolism, and are potential drug targets for diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. "The click reaction we are currently using between terminal acetylenes and azides is surprisingly neat," says Hansen. "It has tremendous potential."

Started at Scripps Research: January 2004.

Funding: Hansen's postdoc is funded by a fellowship from the Fulbright Scholar Program, which was established by Congress in 1946 to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. "Thank you to the U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation for its great support," Hansen says, "and to Dr. Sharpless and his team for welcoming me to the lab."

Background: Bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Ph.D. from University of Oslo. Postdoc at the University of Oslo, School of Pharmacy.

Experience at Scripps Research: "Scripps is a great place. I have been impressed by the high standards of academics and research. What amazes me the most is the interaction among scientists in different fields, such as computer chemistry, biology, and medicinal chemistry. There is always someone to ask if you have questions."

Career Plans: Hansen will begin a position as associate professor in medicinal chemistry at the University of Oslo in September. "It would be wonderful if I could continue to collaborate with Scripps Research scientists from Norway."

Thoughts on the State of Science in Norway: "Norway is a small country with only 4.5 million people and an economy based on raw products—oil, gas, minerals, fish. The Norwegian government is trying to offset these disadvantages for the country's science by encouraging international contacts among students and professionals.

"I would like to bring back some of the things I learn in the United States—not only the science but also some of the means of funding research and the entrepreneurial spirit—and see if they can be adapted to Norwegian society. "

Extracurriculars: In Norway, Hansen hikes, swims, and roller blades in the summer and skis and ice skates in the winter. In California, he has been exploring the desert, the mountains, and the cities. "I was pleasantly surprised to find I could ski in the mountains here. I never would have thought I would find snow in Southern California!"


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Norwegian scientist Trond Vidar Hansen is applying "click chemistry" to a project in the laboratory of Nobel laureate K. Barry Sharpless. Photo by Kevin Fung.