Tina Mygind

From university scientist to manager at Fortune 500 company

As a post doc at Aarhus University Hospital, Tina Mygind helped establish activities within in vitro tissue engineering. Today, she manages a research group at the Fortune 500 company DuPont Nutrition & Health. Here, customers take centre stage.

By Camilla Victoria Marcinkowski, journalist, MSA

 

After more than 10 years at Aarhus University, first as a masters candidate in medical microbiology, then as a PhD-student, and finally as a post doc at Aarhus University Hospital, Tina Mygind decided to look for a job outside of university walls.

 

So in 2006, she landed the job as a group manager in the Antimicrobials & Antioxidants Development Department at Danisco, the Danish ingredients company which, in 2011, was bought by DuPont.

 

“I wasn’t dissatisfied with working at the university. I just wanted to try something else. Applied science has always excited me, and Danisco seemed like an interesting place to work,” Tina Mygind says.

 

Academic career

As a post doc, Tina Mygind did research on stem cells and tissue engineering. She obtained funding from the Danish Research Council and various other foundations and authored/co-authored 11 scientific publications. Her academic career was impressive. Still, the road to a tenure-track position seemed long.

 

“The uncertainty was another reason I decided to change tracks. When an opportunity at Danisco appeared, I decided to apply. The position was within microbiology, which had been the focus for my master’s and PhD-projects. So in a sense I was coming home,” Tina Mygind says.

 

“My job was to help build a new lab to develop new antimicrobial agents that fight bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria, in food,” says Tina Mygind.

 

Focus is on clients

The biggest difference, she found, between working in academia and private industry is how, today, she cooperates closely with other departments, such as application laboratories, patent and legal departments. Her focus is finding solutions that help solve clients’ needs.

 

“As researchers in private industry, we always have to keep in mind that our goal is to develop a product. This naturally affects the scientific setup,” says Tina Mygind.

 

Her lab is part of a department of 25 people, a fifth of whom hold PhDs. In Tina Mygind’s experience, their scientific training gives PhDs a necessary basic foundation of scientific tools. It also allows people to work more independently and to be able to learn new things quickly.

 

“On the other hand, there are many things you need to learn when you start working for a company. Personally, I have taken project management courses,” she says.

 

Needs specialized employees

Tina Myginds manager Connie Benfeldt says DuPont relies on scientifically trained employees.

 

“DuPont is a science-based company. We need specialists with different scientific specialities, as well as generalists and creative employees. They all cooperate in the search for unique solutions that can differentiate us from our competitors,” Connie Benfeldt says.

 

At the company’s Brabrand research center, more than half of the approximately 500 employees have scientific backgrounds.

 

“The many different research competences offer a deep understanding of food science and application. It helps foster what DuPont calls ‘miracles of science’,” says Connie Benfeldt.

 

Manager in a global firm

As a group manager, Tina Mygind spends about half her time managing and supervising.

 

“I don’t do lab work anymore. But I get to learn about various aspects of the food ingredient business, while still using my scientific background. It never gets boring,” she says.

 

Tina Mygind enjoys being part of a global company, where some of her closest colleagues today are based in Delaware, Wisconsin and Kansas. Members of her group in Brabrand are from Greece, Iceland and Germany. 

 

CV: Tina Mygind

  • Employment:
  • 2006-present: Group Manager/ Senior Scientist, Antimicrobials & Antioxidant Development, Danisco, later DuPont Nutrition & Health
  • 2003-2006: Post doc/Leader of Laboratory for Molecular Orthopedics, Orthopedic Research Laboratory, Aarhus University Hospital
  • 2002-2003:Research assistant at Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Aarhus University
  • 2001-2002: Consultant for Loke Diagnostics, Science Park Aarhus

  • Education:
  • March 2003: PhD. Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Aarhus University.
  • June 1999: MSc. Chemistry-biotechnology. Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Aarhus University.