Margit Müller is in the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and works on calcium and cAMP dynamics in brain energy metabolism — she is also one of the winners of our In Your Element essay competition (we’re hoping to feature all of the winners on Reactions over the coming months).
1. What made you want to be a chemist?
When I was fourteen years old I attended a university biochemistry lecture given by my father. I don’t recall the topic of this lecture, but I remember vividly how he explained the interconnections of single molecules in enormous and dynamic biochemical networks and how, during the course of his explanations, these networks slowly started to make sense. Also, I remember him instructing the students not to learn these things by heart, but to understand them. This was the first time I experienced a scientific view of the world and the moment I first wanted to become a scientist.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
As a child I always wanted to be a writer and ever since then this idea has been living in a tiny corner of my brain, so…
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
I am studying calcium and cAMP dynamics in connection to brain glycogen and am hoping to find out why our brains seemingly “waste energy” on storing glycogen.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
I would choose Ludwig van Beethoven. I grew up deeply admiring him and I don’t want to imagine what the world would sound like without his music.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
Last week I used fluorescent calcium indicators to monitor signal transduction in neurons.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
I would pick Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems, because I would miss poetry more than stories.
My one music album would be Ludwig van Beethoven, The 9 Symphonies, played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Herbert von Karajan conducting.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
Someone working in eastern Europe, because we don’t hear enough from there.