Emil Thomsen traveled to Santa Barbara, California in pursuit of his PhD at the Department of Chemistry at University of California Santa Barbara. Learn more about his project and experience as a Danish Fulbrighter below.

I just started the 2nd year of my Ph.D. program in the department of chemistry at the UC Santa Barbara. All living organisms need iron as a nutrient, but because of their small size and its poor solubility, bacteria need specialized systems for getting this element. My research is guided by Professor Alison Butler, whose research is uncovering how these processes take place. Ultimately, this will enable a deeper understanding of how bacteria are able to colonize humans and cause disease. It also serves as important information in designing the much-needed antibiotics of tomorrow.

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Fulbright Grants

Each year Fulbright Denmark awards grants to top Master and PhD-students wanting to study in the U.S.

The deadline to apply for the academic year 2022-2023 is March 2, 2022 at 12:00 PM (noon).

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Emil is working on a project that will enable a deeper understanding of how bacteria are able to colonize humans and cause disease at UC Santa Barbara.

I just wrapped up a project, which we are writing an article about. We discovered how a disease-causing bacterium in salmon acquires iron, a core step in its infection process. This work has taught me a lot of important lessons regarding communicating efficiently in science. Besides this, it also served as a key introduction on how to do all of the practical work, that is involved in submitting an article to a scientific journal. On a personal level, it has not been the easiest time to study abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stopper to many social events on campus and locally in Santa Barbara. However, Fulbright has hosted a lot of social and cultural events over online platforms. Luckily, Santa Barbara has great nature with mountains pushed right against the Pacific Ocean. I have enjoyed spending time cycling and hiking in this nice scenery.

"My stay so far has been greatly enhanced by Fulbright"

- Emil Thomsen, Fulbrighter 2020-2021

My stay so far has been greatly enhanced by Fulbright. There are many social events offered by Fulbright and I look forward to participating in these in person. As a non-citizen, there is a lot of paperwork for visas, taxes, social security number, etc., which can be very confusing since it is all so different here. Fulbright assists and guides you through this process which removes a lot of stress and streamlines the process. I am very happy about my choice of studying in the US. In my opinion, you need to experience such a big country yourself, before trying to understand it. I have been exposed to people from different cultures at UC Santa Barbara, which has enriched both the academic and social aspects of my stay. I highly recommend anyone interested in studying abroad to do so. If it so happens to be in the US, I highly encourage applying to Fulbright for a multitude of reasons. Most important to me were the networks forged through Fulbright. There are several great platforms for alumni, so even once the stay is over your career is still impacted.

If you want to apply for a Fulbright grant, please click here to learn more about our grants, deadlines, and eligibility.