Position: Principal Scientist/Team Leader, Field: Sensory and consumer science, Organisation: Plant & Food Research.
Dr Sara Jaeger credits the human genetic revolution of the last 10 years with providing her with the opportunity of leading research into revealing how our genetic background can influence our ability to smell and detect flavours in food.
Sara is a Principal Scientist at Auckland’s Plant & Food Research where she leads a team in sensory and consumer science.
She is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the Institute of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Sara was born and bred in Denmark. She initially studied for a chemical engineering degree specialising in biotechnology in Denmark followed by a master’s degree at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Her thesis subject was sensory science relating to beer.
It gives me a great sense of pleasure to have a paper accepted for publication. After 50 papers, it is still a great feeling.
After working in industry following her MSc, Sara wanted a greater role in the planning and design of research so embarked on a PhD in the UK.
Sara has since lectured at university in the UK and the University of Auckland in the Business School. (Sara also completed a degree in agricultural and marketing economics at the University of Reading in the UK.) Sara’s diverse background has given her a range of skills she has drawn on throughout her career.
Presently, Sara’s career oscillates between the academic world and research at Plant & Food. She is involved in a number of collaborative projects (presently in 8 different countries) and has written 50 academic papers.
Mentoring emerging researchers met through collaborative project involvement is an area of her job Sara particularly values.
She believes she was fortunate to have this support when she began her career and finds satisfaction in being able to give something back when training her team members, PhD students and emerging researchers.
Sara’s personal life focuses on maintaining a healthy lifestyle so she can enjoy seeing her daughter grow up and making the most of travel opportunities, which enable Sara to maintain precious links with family and friends in Europe.
Unsurprising for a sensory scientist, Sara enjoys trying new food and drink!
Nature of science
Scientists often work in collaborative groups, within an organisation, a country or internationally. This allows for research connectivity essential for the growth of new ideas.
This article is based on information current in 2011.