Associate Professor Helena Rodilla came to Chalmers in 2011 after receiving her PhD in physics at the University of Salamanca in Spain, on the topic Monte Carlo simulations of semiconductor devices. She had a postdoc assignment at the Microwave Electronics Laboratory (MEL) for two years.
"My work there was quite similar to my PhD, on the same device but for a different type of materials. But then I started to be more familiar with measurements and how the cleanroom works", Helena says.
A rather brave shift in her career occurred in 2013 when she joined TML and changed research field completely to find new applications in terahertz technology for life science. It has an interdisciplinary approach that Helena enjoys.
"It is challenging and has also been a lot of fun. I liked what I was doing but had been working in many years with that, and I felt I wanted to learn new things. The topic was new at TML and new for me. I started from scratch. One of the things I like the most is the collaboration with colleagues in biology and chemistry at the University of Gothenburg. I think I have been very lucky", she says.
Helena Rodilla's current research has two main lines - one of more basic science, for example studies of how proteins are moving, and the other one a more practical industrial collaboration with Astra Zeneca, on controlling different processes in the tablet production.
"For the moment we are developing tools in the terahertz frequency range for addressing these challenges. It's still in a really early stage", she explains.
Helena Rodilla's new challenge is to be deputy head of laboratory during Jan Stake's current sabbatical leave at TU Delft in the Netherlands.
"I think it is interesting to learn how the lab and the department work. When I first got the question I was a little afraid for the responsibility, but now I feel more comfortable. I'm maintaining the lab while Jan is away, and is in contact with him continously, so I don't see it like I'm taking over his role. I'm not planning any big decisions or changes", she smiles.
Helena is married and have a two year old son. She was born and raised in Salamanca, a city with around 150.000 inhabitants, located west of Madrid in western Spain. As said, she achieved her PhD at the University of Salamanca, which happens to be one of the oldest in Europe, founded already in 1134.
"Salamanca is a university city, a small town with lots of students, similar to Lund. It's a nice place for studying", she concludes.
Text: Michael Nystås
Photo: Anna-Lena Lundquist