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News & Press: Member News

Member Spotlight: Isabelle Kohler

Thursday, May 2, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gabi Barragan
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The Member Spotlight Q&A is part of an ongoing CASSS series, in which we invite members to meet other members of the CASSS Community.

This month, we turn our Member Spotlight on Isabelle Kohler, Assistant Professor at Leiden University, and a member of CASSS's Academic Committee and the Netherlands Discussion Group. 


Q: How long have you been with your current organization and/or position?

It is now almost three years that I have been working as an Assistant Professor at the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research (LACDR), which belongs to Leiden University (The Netherlands), in the group of Analytical Biosciences and Metabolomics. 

Q: What was your motivation to volunteer with CASSS?

In 2017, Cari Sänger van de Griend sent a request to the Scientific Director of our institute, Hubertus Irth, asking if someone from the LACDR would be willing to join the Board of the newly-born NLab Discussion Group. For reasons I still ignore, this request ended up on my desk. Since I can’t say no, especially to great ideas, I joined the Board with great pleasure. A year later, I also became an Associate Director, a position I really like since one of my main missions as a researcher is to support young scientists and help them grow in their careers. 

Q: Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town called Prilly, in Switzerland, which is located next to Lausanne, in the French-speaking part of the country. I actually spent most of my life living there before moving to The Netherlands.

Q: What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?


I love hiking/walking, be it on the Dutch beaches, in a forest, or in the Swiss mountains. I also regularly walk to work, enjoying 45 minutes of me-time where I can relax and listen to music. Music is another important aspect of my life, as I have played many instruments in the past. I also enjoy running, sewing, baking, and reading.

Q: What's your favorite type of food?

You cannot make me happier than with a piece of good bread, some old cheese, and a glass of very good red wine. Simple but efficient!

Q: Do you speak any languages besides English?

My mother tongue is French. I also speak Dutch, almost fluently, as it is now more than five years that I have been living in The Netherlands. When I was studying Pharmacy, I also spent one year in Zurich, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, to improve my German. I use the four languages every day, which can be sometimes confusing! 

Q: Do you have any children? Pets?

No children and no pets, but enough students to supervise to compensate!

Q: What’s your favorite type of music?

I was a real fan of rock, hard rock and metal in the past, and I am now in a phase where I explore hip hop and electronic music. [It's] very eclectic but I really enjoy all kinds of music. 

Q: What was the last movie you saw in the theater or book you read and loved?

I rarely go to the theater, but I have recently watched “Bohemian Rhapsody” while I was flying to a conference, which I enjoyed a lot (probably because I am a fan of Queen). I couldn’t pick one single book only, as I read a lot, but Amélie Nothomb, Georges Pérec, Marguerite Duras, and Haruki Murakami are among my favorite writers. A lot of French literature! 

Q: What famous person do you admire and why?

I don’t really have a famous person who I admire, but I get inspired by my friends and people surrounding me – they are not famous yet! 

Q: What’s your favorite destination to travel to?

I have been two times to Australia and enjoyed it a lot. The nature, the weather, the cities, the people – everything is worth it. Of course, I also never say “no” to a long weekend in Switzerland, as it is also a wonderful country. 

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

That despite my XX chromosomes, I am a whisky lover, with a preference for smoky or peaty whiskies such as the ones from Islay. But this is may not be a surprise for those who have been at a conference with me.

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