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Next on the blog we have Mirela Delibegovic
Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
Professor in Diabetes Physiology, Director of Aberdeen Cardiovascular and Diabetes Centre, Dean of Research University of Aberdeen
What was your journey to get there?
I joined Heriot’s in 1994, in S6 from my war-torn country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a George Heriot’s scholarship. I arrived on a Saturday and started school a few days later with quite limited English. 9 months later, I was sitting my Highers exams together with everyone else. From there, I went to the University of Edinburgh (1995-1999), where I got a degree in Pharmacology (Hons) and then PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee (1999-2003). I then got a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School where I spent 4 wonderful years developing my own research in diabetes and heart disease (2003-2007). This allowed me to get a tenure-track research fellowship at the University of Aberdeen in 2007. I was promoted to Professor in Diabetes Physiology and Signalling at the University of Aberdeen in 2015. I love my job and everything I do; being a scientist allows one to travel the world, work in any country and meet so many extraordinary people with amazing ideas!
What are your achievements?
Professionally, I am most proud of being elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy (2022).
Personally, my biggest achievement is having 2 beautiful children who remind me every day of how important life is and that everything we do is for the benefit of future generations. I am also proud at the thought that the research we do, will hopefully benefit the society.
What are your favourite memories of Heriot’s?
I have quite a few happy memories of Heriot’s, the best ones relate to how friendly most people were to someone joining them in their final year. I made some great friendships but also remember so fondly of how amazing and helpful all the teachers were. I will always remember the day when I met the Headmaster, Mr Pearson; he was the kindest person who made me feel welcome at the school from the start.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
Be open to opportunities and be brave! I was advised once that it’s better to have tried and failed then never to have tried at all; I strongly believe that this is the case. In my professional life, I have never opted to take the “easier” route. If I hadn’t done that, I would not have worked in different places, been exposed to different cultures and made friends for life in each one of these. When opportunities come, seize them but also don’t be afraid to create your own ones!