Professor Matthias Laska has worked at Linköping University for many years. His main area of study is the sense of smell and taste in animals, at the behavioural level. He works also on projects that require animal training.Kolmården Wildlife Park is the largest zoo in Scandinavia with around 750 animals, and the professor and his students spend a lot of time here observing animal behaviour. If he is not at the zoo or at the university teaching classes, he is probably in Mexico training monkeys and determining how good their sense of smell is.
“Information gathered through projects like this allows us to compare senses between different species. Most people believe that dogs have a much better sense of smell than humans, but that is not completely true – humans are actually really good at smelling.”
Matthias is responsible for teaching behavioural neurobiology, primate ethology and communicating science in the master’s programme Applied Ethology and Animal Biology. One of the things he enjoys most about being a teacher is accompanying his students all through their master’s thesis project.According to Matthias, a great thing about the two-year master’s programme at LiU is that the whole of the second year is devoted to a thesis. This helps both the student and teachers to dig deeper into a topic.
If you attend Matthias’ courses, you will be expected to be curious, interested and active, to constantly ask questions, develop discussions and show initiative.
In return you will get a lot of opportunities. You can choose to work on your thesis in Sweden or abroad. Working abroad is encouraged, since Linköping University has many partnerships with people working on different behavioural projects in places that include Bolivia, Mexico, Portugal and the US.
If you prefer Sweden, the internationally renowned wildlife park has many opportunities to explore the biology of exotic animals without leaving the country, and Matthias will help you to develop your projects.