Each year, Dr. Mario Thevis, head of the Centre for Preventative Doping Research and Vice President of Research at the German Sport University Cologne, hosts the Manfred Donike Workshop in Germany.
The namesake of the workshop, Dr. Donike, was the German biochemist and anti-doping analysis expert credited with spurring modern drug testing in sport. To honor his legacy, an award is presented to a scientist that carries on the spirit of Donike’s work.
In 2020, that award went to PCC-funded researcher Adalheidur Dóra Albertsdóttir from the Doping Control Laboratory at Ghent University in Belgium. She answered a few questions about the award and the research that helped her earn it.
Can you briefly summarize the research you presented at the workshop?
“My research centers around the detection of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in urine with a focus on analyzing sulphated metabolites using gas chromatography. The research that I presented is aimed at 2 popular AAS, drostanolone and methenolone, where we showed that the sulphates provide an extended detection time in the case of methenolone and could be beneficial as secondary metabolites for drostanolone.”
What does it mean to you to have your work recognized with the Manfred Donike Award?
“I see this award as first and foremost as a recognition of the great work that is conducted at the Doping Control Laboratory (DoCoLab) in Ghent, Belgium, and I especially want to mention two of my co-authors, Wim van Gansbeke and Dr. Michael Polet, who are absolutely instrumental to my work.”
What first drew you to anti-doping research?
“In complete honesty, it was the detective aspect of the research. Searching for new metabolites or developing a new method is a bit like searching for clues to a particular problem, so in a way, I am living my childhood dream.”
What’s the most rewarding part of your research?
“That it can be directly applied and all the advancements that are made have the possibility of being implemented around the world.”
What advice would you give to researchers who may be on the fence as to whether they want to enter the space?
“Simply put, just go for it. The anti-doping community is incredibly supportive, and the range of problems that need to be solved will require the collaboration of various disciplines. The research that is conducted in the anti-doping field is highly relevant and can be applied to a variety of other fields. Thus, all advances can have a wider societal or even global impact.”
Congratulations to Adalheidur Dóra Albertsdóttir for the recognition of her hard work and important contributions.