Researcher Reflections: Maria Hornstrup Christensen

Posted on 18.03.2024

Maria Hornstrup Christensen completed her PhD Scholarship on ‘The FUDGE study – Future health and Gestational diabetes’ at Steno Diabetes Center Odense in November 2023 with a grant from Danish Diabetes Academy (DDA) (now known as Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy).

We have asked Maria Hornstrup Christensen to reflect on her time as a DDA-funded researcher.

What are the most important findings of your research project?

In my research project, the FUDGE study, we have found that women with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing a variety of morbidities later in life compared to women without gestational diabetes; cardiovascular and metabolic morbidity, psychiatric morbidity and chronic kidney disease occurred more often in women with a history of gestational diabetes. Interestingly, we also found that the increased risk was evident independently of subsequent development of diabetes.

How is your research project relevant to the public?

Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects millions of pregnant women worldwide every year – and the fact that the condition also has health implications beyond pregnancy and in a long-term perspective is important. My research project showed that a continued attention to the future health in women with a history of gestational diabetes is warranted and that optimal strategies for prevention and early detection of future morbidity should be addressed.

What was a highlight in your time as a DDA-funded researcher?

I feel very privileged because my time as a DDA-funded PhD student has contained many highlights! A special highlight has been my research stay in Brisbane, Australia. I had the fortune of spending 10 weeks in one of my absolute favourite places in this world, namely Australia. In so many ways it was a immensely rewarding experience.

Which challenges have you encountered on your way?

A huge challenge encountered and overcome has been to get up and speak in front of a large crowd. This is miles beyond my comfort zone – but now within my do-able zone!

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before starting your research project, what would it be?

“The more you know, the more you know how little you know”

What has your DDA grant meant for your research, education, and network?

My DDA grant has had profound impact. My DDA connection has contributed to the shaping of my identity as a researcher and given me a feeling of belonging within a network of highly skilled, dedicated and caring fellow researchers. I have participated in many interesting and valuable DDA events throughout the past years that have spanned from hardcore metabolism courses to eye-opening performance courses etc.

What is next for you?

I am greatful that I have been granted the opportunity of continuing with a combination of doing research and clinical work as diabetes midwife at Steno Diabetes Center Odense and Odense University Hospital. I look forward to keep on collaborating with my great network consisting of fantastic people from around the world and we have some really nice plans and ideas for future research!

Maria Hornstrup Christensen’s closest collaborators have been Professor Dorte Møller Jensen.

We wish Maria Hornstrup Christensen all the best in her future career.

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