Dr. Sofie Brouwers, MD, PhD.

Position: Trainee in Cardiology

Affiliation: Universitäts Spital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

  • What is your role at your work?

On a daily basis, I work as a cardiology trainee at the University Hospital in Zürich.

  •      How did you get interested in your career path?

    My preference for the cardiovascular system quite quickly settled in at the beginning of my medical education. My interest in hypertension grew steadily. It intrigued me that even though the high worldwide prevalence of hypertension keeps on rising, the pathophysiologic explanation remains poor.

    My first intensive and close encounter with the scientific medical literature resulted in a review, written during my Masters in Medicine (J Hypertens 2010 28:1599-610). At the time, I spent most of my spare hours in the laboratory, observing daily life and activities carefully, and learning how to prepare, perform and assess experiments in hypertension research. A profound interest and drive to contribute to medical scientific discoveries with the goal of always improving patient care turned me into a motivated candidate for research.

    At the moment I am focusing on fulfilling my cardiology training. In the longer term, I would love to be able to develop a career combining clinical work and research. I find the idea of contributing to medical scientific discoveries, combined with the goal of always improving patient care, very appealing.

  • What are you most proud of in your career or otherwise?

I quite often realise how happy I am that I pursued my ambition to obtain a PhD. Fulfilling a part of the research in Boston, far away from friends and family, required a lot of determination, but I now realise how important that decision was. At this moment, I am delighted that my partner and I decided to move to Zürich, a real scientific hotspot. It is very inspiring to work in a multilingual international team of leaders in their field in cardiology.

  •  What important career challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

Moving abroad is quite challenging and often brings administrative, organisational and unforeseen difficulties along with it. This is something that I may have underestimated. During these sometimes stressful periods, I always kept thinking about the broader picture and the long-term, which gave me a lot of strength to proceed in my endeavours.

  • What advice would you give your younger self?

“Keep on going! It may be hard, but you will see, it is all going to be worth it!”

  • Highlight your most significant research contributions and publications (3-5) – if relevant to you.

I am fascinated by the central regulation of blood pressure. In the paper “Hypotensive and sympathoinhibitory responses to selective central AT2 receptor stimulation in spontaneously hypertensive rats.” (Clinical Science 2015;129: 81-92) we presented our work on the role of the AT2-receptor in the brain on blood  pressure and sympatho-inhibition.

  •  How can we support the next generation of women scientists?

Worldwide we need to motivate and stimulate young women to study, choose for a career in science and give them support by providing ‘role models’ who managed to combine their career with a family.