Sigrid Vondra from Austria divided her master’s studies between Vienna and Linköping. An international agreement between the two universities means that she will have a double master’s degree when she completes her studies.
Sigrid Vondra receives us in the laboratory where researchers are studying autoimmunity and immune regulation. She is studying blood cells and placental soft tissue.
“I’m investigating whether we can influence the immune system by adding placental tissue to blood cells,” she tells us.
Immunology has become the field that truly interests Sigrid. And she is driven by a mixture of personal curiosity and the possibility of helping others.
“The immune system plays a key role during pregnancy. Since the fetus and the placenta are, to a certain extent, foreign cells for the mother, it is important that her immune system does not reject them.”
Sigrid is taking a course entitled “Advanced immunology”, which is an elective course during the final term of the “Experimental and Medical Biosciences” programme.

Influencing one’s education

The opportunity to try things out and to learn in a laboratory environment is part of the educational method known as “problem-based learning”, or PBL. This is a key part of the educational profile at Linköping University. Sigrid has worked several periods outside of the classroom, and gained experience in transferring what she has learnt on the course to practical work.
“Students often work independently at Linköping University. We can influence our education, and choose how to work and what to study. The teachers set great store by students getting on with things themselves.”
Many of the lecturers are also carrying out research in the field in which they lecture.

University collaboration

The possibility of taking a double master’s is the result of collaboration between Linköping University and the University of Applied Sciences Technikum in Vienna.
Sigrid Vondra took the first year of the master’s programme “Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine” in Vienna and will achieve a “Master of Science in Engineering” and a “Master of Medical Science in Medical Biology” from LiU.
This will give her a broad base to stand on. Sigrid Vondra is hoping to be able to continue to doctoral studies, probably within immunology.