“Boston is an epicentre of science”
As a physician and clinical researcher, Frederic Schaper has one burning ambition: to create a ‘map’ of the network connections in the brain. Ultimately, this will enable doctors to provide better treatment for brain diseases such as epilepsy, depression and Parkinson’s. The UM alum and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School expect to publish their first, promising results this autumn.
He would have preferred to have done the interview in Maastricht, the city where he studied Biomedical Sciences, completed the combined Physician–Clinical Investigator programme and did his PhD research until 2019. “I haven’t been there for over 18 months: corona, of course,” he says from his office at Boston’s Harvard Medical School, one of the top institutes in the US. “It still makes me smile to think of the Maasbrug and the places I used to go with friends, family and fellow students.”
Not that Schaper is bored in Boston, where he began working as a clinical researcher in 2019. “Definitely not,” he laughs. “I’m thrilled to be here. The Boston area is an epicentre of science. You’ve got universities like Harvard, MIT and Tufts and companies such as Pfizer and Moderna practically next to each other, thousands of scientists concentrated in a single city. It’s great to be part of that.”
Frederic Schaper studied Biomedical Sciences, completed the Physician–Clinical Investigator research master’s and obtained his PhD in 2019 at UM. He currently works as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He received a number of awards during his studies, including the KNAW Van Leersum Grant.