Why have you chosen to do a PhD in an international collaboration project?
Doing a PhD was always a key milestone in my scientific career. Having the opportunity to do it in an international environment such as the eCHO Systems ITN is for me a great chance to learn and do science at the highest level and meet a group of young scientist from other countries participate and actively experience how research is done in different laboratories around Europe, each with their own expertise and way of working.
My lab and the PhD-project I am doing
My PhD project is focused on the investigation of endogenous CHO miRNAs as potential metabolic sensors and engineering tools. The aim of my project is to develop genetic switches relying on endogenous triggers to control gene expression. Part of the research will focus on identifying miRNA with expression profiles that correlate with specific metabolic cellular states or culture conditions and to develop genetic constructs able to respond to such miRNA expression profiles to modulate transgene expression. In addition, I am exploring the potential of genetic switches developed in other organisms (bacteria, yeast) (i.e.: promoters, RNA switches) aiming to create and characterize a CHO-specific toolbox for controlled gene expression.
I am based at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB), located in Dublin, Ireland, which is a multidisciplinary centre of translational research in fundamental and applied cellular biotechnology, molecular cell biology, ocular diseases and biological chemistry. It includes a multidisciplinary team of Cell and Molecular Biologists, Biotechnologists, Chemists and Informatics specialists, and it prioritises translational research involving collaborations with industry and with clinicians, being committed to educating people from all backgrounds in the area of Biomedical Science.
What kind of tips would you give to future PhDs taking part in an ITN?
My advice to new young researchers starting PhDs in an ITN would be to make their best to getting involved with the other members and develop a team feeling. Besides great training, I think that the best and priceless thing they will get from their PhD in an ITN such as eCHO Systems is a wonderful group of people, from different countries and with different skills and knowledge, that will become their partners along their early scientific career and be their future colleagues and eventually friends.
I studied Biotechnology, specializing in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona (B.Sc. 2009-2012). Then, I had the opportunity to carry out my Bachelor thesis at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, on the use of the yeast Pichia pastoris for the heterologous production of recombinant proteins. In 2012, I moved back to Barcelona to continue my studies and graduated in 2014 with a M.Sc. in Bioengineering from the IQS-School of Engineering, University Ramon Llull. For my Master’s thesis, I moved to Switzerland to work on the development of microcarrier-based bioprocesses using mammalian cells in orbitally shaken bioreactors at the École Polytéchnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Ricardo Valdés-Bango Curell, DCU