Ana Dugopoljac

Helix Lab Fellow, Class of Spring 2023

MSc study

Chemical Engineering


Aalborg University (AAU)


Chr. Hansen

Project title

Deep dive into selected downstream unit operations for identifying design/improvement opportunities

Project description

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) are an important group of milk sugars found only in human breast milk. It provides different health benefits to infants, especially in the development of a healthy digestive and immune system, as well as brain development. For these reasons, Chr. Hansen has been producing a mix of 5 most dominant HMOs that are found in human milk, which are used for making an infant formula.

The sole production of HMOs is based on fermentation that is divided into upstream (preparation of microorganism and growth medium) and downstream processing (product recovery), and my project will be focused on diving into the downstream processing in order to improve the final yield of HMOs. 

Helix Lab Fellow Poster for Gallery Walk - Ana Dugipoljac.pdf

What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?

I wanted to finalise my education in an environment with a strong presence of industry where I can learn in which way can I utilise my knowledge and acquired degree.

What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?

The most exciting part of the Fellowship is knowing that you will contribute to the specific industry with your project and following revelations. For that reason, all of us have been putting our best efforts into our research since we are aware it will probably make a difference in one way or another.

But something even more important is the feeling of togetherness that I personally never even hoped for, with such great support that I’ve been receiving all this time from Helix employees and other Fellows, making me feel welcomed and just grateful for their presence and opportunity to share this final chapter of our academic journey.

What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?

Being a Fellow has helped me in creating a network of people that I can learn from, thus greatly affecting my career path. It’s often confusing to determine what exactly you want to do after graduation, but after a lot of conversations with students of different backgrounds and industry professionals I’m becoming more confident how exactly I want to utilise my education.