“It strengthens your ability to adapt to a different research system and to be more open-minded”
By Alexandre Dumez, Eurolife Mobility Program Grantee (2019-2020) from the University of Strasbourg at the Leiden University Medical Center
I recently performed my Master’s thesis with the Eurolife Mobility program: I was supervised by Dr. K. Marijt, who is part of the Experimental Cancer Immunology and Therapy program directed by Prof. S.H. van der Burg and Prof. T. Van Hall at the LUMC, Leiden. My master’s thesis was about the effects of MHC-I presentation on cancer cells under metabolic stress. I used the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and a panel of inhibitors in various cellular in vitro assays and analyzed MHC-I presentation by cancer cells using flow cytometry and qPCR. This project generated interesting results that further formed an important part of a research proposal.
Thanks to this opportunity, I acquired a strong basis in molecular and cellular biology and I had the chance to be part of numerous oncology, immunology seminars. I thoroughly enjoyed working in a different research system and being welcomed in a team mainly composed of dutch people, which helped me to discover this really interesting culture. Thanks to the trust of my supervisors in their students, I quickly became autonomous and independent. After these 7 months, I now feel more confident and sure about my project to continue my scientific career in oncology/immunology research.
Despite the coronavirus crisis, I had the chance to stay in an international student residence (part of the Leiden university housing program) in Leiden where I wrote my master’s thesis in our beautiful courtyard and continued to go forward with the project thanks to zoom meetings with my supervisors.
Being abroad and starting a new life alone in a new city / new lab is always a difficult challenge, however it strengthens your ability to adapt to a different research system and to be more open-minded. Through the benefit and wealth of experiences that the Eurolife Mobility Program has provided me with, I would strongly encourage future students to pursue this opportunity if given the chance.
“Great opportunity to acquire the main key competences in order to pursue my scientific career”
By Palmira Llorens Giralt, Eurolife Mobility Program Grantee (2018-2019) from the University of Barcelona at the Leiden University Medical Center
I conducted my research project at the Department of Anatomy and Embryology in the LUMC with Dr. Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes group. Their main goal is to understand the molecular pathways involved in the regulation of development, with particular interest in the urogenital system. They aim to understand human gametogenesis by combining efforts on fertility preservation and in vitro inducing and maturation of germ cells. They are among the few research groups that have access to human fetal tissue, which is an extremely rare and valuable source of information.
I would say this internship has been very enriching for me in many aspects. Not only have I learnt many laboratory techniques, but I have also learnt how to plan by myself, write or improve protocols and analyse data self-sufficiently. On the other hand, I have had many people (mostly technicians) help me through the internship, especially in learning how to use the fluorescent microscopes (confocal and spinning-disk) and laboratory protocols such as tissue culture and histology.
In conclusion, I think that fulfilling the “TFG” in the LUMC has been a great opportunity to acquire the main key competences in order to pursue my scientific career. Moreover, living abroad in an unknown environment is always very enriching. I have grown not only professionally but also in many personal aspects. Therefore, I highly recommend future students to apply for an Erasmus research project involved in the Eurolife programme.
“I got to know a new country and a new culture”
By Anna-Lena Katzke, Eurolife Mobility Program Grantee (2017-2018) from the University Medical Center at the Trinity College Dublin
I had a great time at the Trinity College in Dublin. I was able to improve my English and meet a lot of new people. In addition, to that I wrote my Bachelor’s thesis in Dublin, I got to know a new country and a new culture. Going to Ireland to write my thesis was a very good opportunity to learn new methods and improve my vocabulary.
I strongly recommend taking the opportunity to go abroad to anyone that has the possibility. I am very grateful for the support by the Eurolife Mobility Program that enabled me to go abroad.
“I can recommend this experience to every student”
By Jonas Wilhelm Hemesath, Eurolife Mobility Program Grantee (2017-2018) from the University Medical Center Göttingen at the Trinity College Dublin
With the Eurolife mobility program I had the chance to write my bachelor thesis at the Trinity College Dublin. During this project I became not only more confident and independent in my work, but I had also the chance to experience another culture and to make contact with new people. I can recommend this experience to every student, who is considering an internship or a thesis abroad.
“It is a valuable experience to go abroad for an internship, and I would recommend it to every student!”
By Marit van der Pol, Eurolife Mobility Program Grantee (2016-2017) from the Leiden University Medical Center at the University of Strasbourg
I am a second year Biomedical Sciences Master’s student, and I decided to go abroad for my internship at a Eurolife institution. The group where I am doing my internship is from the Institute National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médical (INSERM) unit 1113 (Director: Jean-Noël Freund) team 2 (Team leader: Christian Gaiddon) in Strasbourg which focuses on developmental and cell stress signaling in digestive and urological cancers. The lab is located next to a big university hospital and it is part of the University of Strasbourg. The group is in close contact with another research group in Zweibrücken (Germany), and by exchanging expertise, research can be performed in a highly efficient way. The group has already five patents, one license and a start-up company that arose from the research of anti-cancer effects of novel compounds containing ruthenium and osmium.
The research topic I am working on concerns the effects of platinum-based chemotherapeutical agents on the p53-family of transcription factors, which are involved in many processes such as cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. The research is focused on the enteric nervous system (ENS). With the use of in-vivo and ex-vivo models, underlying mechanisms of observed neuron degeneration upon anticancer treatment will be explored. It will provide information of a fundamental nature, possibly aiding in the development of therapeutic interventions to reduce gastro-intestinal side effects of platinum-based chemotherapeutical agents in the future. The topic is part of the PhD project of Anaïs Barthe.
The experience thus far has been truly enriching. It is difficult to know what to expect when you are going to another institution to perform research. In this case, not only the institution is different, but the entire country. It soon became clear that the atmosphere is nice, and I felt immediately free to ask questions when I had them. The moment when you are familiar enough at the lab to perform experiments on your own is really liberating and it allows you to feel like an independent researcher. It feels very good to be a part of a team that collaborates extensively with others. It is a valuable experience to go abroad for an internship, and I would recommend it to every student! Just inquire at the international coordinator of your institution.