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Monday, 29 March 2021 09:14

Interview UFR

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Early Stage Researcher, Rubí Misol-Ha Velasco Cárdenas MSc.
  • What are your research interests? What are you working on?
Cancer Immunotherapy, Biotechnology. I am attempting to improve the CAR T cell therapy introducing intracellular modifications in the design of them. I perform in vitro and in vivo assays of the new constructs and compare them with the current FDA approved CAR Kymriah.
  • How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?

I always had a wide interest in immunology and the relation with this science and cancer caught my attention for the high potential that I find in immunotherapy against cancer.

  • What would you like the impact of this project to be?
A better understanding of the CAR T cells and hopefully a new therapy that can be used in the clinics.
  • Where and how did your scientific journey begin?
It started when I was a child and I got my first set of chemistry and a microscope, I could not stop doing experiments and trying to observe everything under the microscope.
  • What do you plan to do after you complete your PhD?
Continue doing science as a postdoctoral researcher.
  • How has your view of Science changed with this consortium?

It made me understand the relevance of networking and teamwork, especially international collaborations. It also helped me to be more open to different styles of work and of making science.

ITN

  • Was there something specific about the ENACTI2NG that drew you to apply?
The collaboration and the topic, as well as the opportunity of moving to a new country where I never lived before and learnt from them.
  • Optional: How do you think the ENACTI2NG consortium is contributing to put you one step closer to your goal?
It is helping me in the transition from an early-stage researcher to a more advanced or mature researcher, more independent, which a higher expertise in cancer immunotherapy.
  • Someone curious about participating in a consortium like asks for your feedback or advice, what would you tell him/her?
I would tell him that being in a Marie Curie Sklowdowksa Consortium is one of the best ways of studying a PhD and that I highly recommend it.
  • Someone is curious about working on the same field / working with your group, what would you tell him/her?
That this field has a high potential for the future, not just as a “hot topic” but for the actual impact that might have for the treatment of cancer and improving the quality of life of these people.
  • What do you like most about your time at your institution/group/consortium?
I like the collaboration, that everyone is open to bring ideas to the table but also to listen and learn from the others. Everyone has a different expertise, and this make us be a complete consortium.
  • How is the process of adaptation into a new country during the PhD?
Indeed, is a very difficult process that takes time and patience (like science), but that make you become a more resilient, determined, humble and knowledgeable person and researcher.

PI: Susana Minguet

  • What is the focus of your group?

We are interested in understand how our immune system work to keep us healthy. In particularly, we study lymphocytes that are the cells that distinguish self from non-self and establish the immunological memory. We aim to understand how these cells transmit the information of self or non-self across the cellular membrane and how they decide when to mount an immune response.

  • Where and how did your scientific journey begin?

In high school, I had a teacher that told us about the immune system and about the “bubble boy” disease, kids that are born without a functional immune system and they should live isolated from the world. Any minor infection might kill them. This story made me realized how important our immune system is, and I wanted to understand this better. Then I decided to study Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and did my PhD in Immunology.

  • The favorite moment of your career.

It was during my postdoc in Germany, one of this Eureka moments when you do the key experiment and it works! I was sitting in front of the flow cytometer and observing the calcium response of my cells live. I had two kinds of stimuli that did not activate the cells, and then I had the idea that maybe both stimuli were needed simultaneously. And I add then, and the cells responded beautifully! I was so happy, I phoned my supervisor and we start celebrating by phone, it was great!

  • One thing in science that changed the most since your PhD (early science career) - something that would have made you life so much easier if you had it back then?

Soft skill courses, presentation courses, English writing… at that time there were not graduate schools and nobody took care of teaching us all of this. I also missed some kind of thesis committee or someone that helped us to put our PhD progress in perspective.

  • Developments you are most excited about.

Science communication in general, Immunotherapy and vaccines for COVID19

  • What will be the next big thing in the field?
Personalized medicine, off the shelf immunotherapies

PI Wolfgang Schamel:

  • What is the focus of your group?

Molecular mechanism of T cell activation

  • Where and how did your scientific journey begin?
In Bochum finding, catching and bringing small animals at home, when I was a child.
  • The favorite moment of your career.
Discussing exciting new data with my co-workers.
  • One thing in science that changed the most since your PhD (early science career) - something that would have made you life so much easier if you had it back then? 
DNA sequencing by just putting the sample into the post
  • Developments you are most excited about.
Immunocancer therapy
  • What will be the next big thing in the field?
Allogeneic CAR therapy
  • Day to day life of a PI (and how much the consortium demands out of you).
Zoom meetings
  • A PI curious about submitting an ITN asks you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
Please go ahead!!
  • What do you like most about the consortium?
Following the project of others
  • What do you envision the future of science to be? 
Free exchange of information
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