SECRET-ITN Annual Meeting 2020 and Mid-Term Check
This November, shortly after completing the first year of our project, the SECRET ITN consortium met digitally for a one day annual meeting, where we looked back over our progress for the past year and all the ESRs had a chance to present and discuss their first results with all the PIs and other ESRs. It was a very lively and productive discussion, and we are thankful for everyone’s participation and involvement! We can only hope to keep it up over the upcoming years!
The Annual Meeting was followed by the Mid-Term Check on the 13th of November 2020. We were happy to meet with our project officer, to walk him through our progress and successes, as well as our COVID-19-related struggles and problem solving. We are very grateful for his useful feedback and suggestions, and are looking forward to a continued productive communication!
An introduction to advanced microscopy techniques for our ESRs
The SECRET ITN ESRs participated in a one day digital workshop in microscopy techniques, a blend of informative lectures from experts in the field and a practical tutorial in the use of a popular data analysis tool. The training event was organised on the 9th of November 2020 by the team of Prof Hesso Farhan at the University of Oslo. Unfortunately, an event in presence at this point was not an option.
The workshop was not only a way to learn new and exciting techniques, but also a great chance for scientific exchange, as SECRET ESRs got a chance to meet and interact with the ESRs from SAND-ITN, coordinated by our beneficiary, Prof Hesso Farhan, from the University of Oslo.
SECRET-ITN recruitment completed!
As of October 2020, the last 2 ESRs have joined the SECRET ITN team of bright young researchers!
Catarina Marques, a Portuguese student, has a background in molecular biology, genetics and proteomics obtained at the University of Algarve (MSc in Biotechnology) and University of Lisbon (BSc in Biology) and several research projects. She has started her PhD in the proteomics group led by Prof Connie Jimenez at the Oncoproteomics department of the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (VUmc), working on project 2.2.
Juan Manuel García Illarramendi, originating from Spain, obtained a BSc degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Navarra, including an ERASMUS semester abroad in Sweden at the University of Linköping, and then went on to study bioinformatics during his MSc degree program at the University of Bordeaux. He proved to be a great fit for our position at our industry beneficiary Anaxomics, in Barcelona, and has started working on the computational biology project 2.3 under the supervision of Dr. Judith Farrés as of the beginning of October.
We are delighted to have the ESR group finally complete, and welcome the new students to the SECRET ITN community!
SECRET-ITN first training event in transferrable skills
Due to the present travel restrictions and health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, SECRET-ITN has re-scheduled and organised the first training workshops destined for the ESRs as online events. The ESR Kick-Off event initially planned to take place in Stuttgart at the end of April was unfortunately cancelled on short notice. As a result, digital training sessions were organised. The first one, an introduction to the network data sharing platform, DaRUS, the data repository of the University of Stuttgart, was quickly arranged and proceeded as scheduled. Three other workshops, focusing on the ethics of science, good scientific practice, and time- and self-management, took place at the end of July. These workshops allowed the ESRs not only to learn about the specific topics, but also to actively interact and build stronger connections with their colleagues. We aimed to create an interactive experience allowing each student to take hold of his/her own PhD project management, to asses day to day productivity, and to build a solid base for ethical scientific practice.
SECRET-ITN navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic
The unexpected hit from the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic has been tough on all of us. Despite difficulties in recruitment and relocation of our young early stage researchers, we have managed to stay focused and overcome difficulties. After several months of quarantine or lockdowns, our ESRs are now back to the bench, bravely pushing their projects forward. In times like these, we have learned to adapt to dynamic situations, to use our time wisely, and to stay (digitally) connected!