Why have you chosen to do a PhD in an international collaboration project?
The international environment of the eCHO network is a real advantage in comparison to common PhD projects as the experience we get as a result of the collaborative environment and shared work is of great value for a scientist. In addition, an international network like this allows every student to grow as a person thanks to the interaction of different cultures.
My lab and the PhD-project I am doing
My project takes place at the University of Kent, Canterbury, in the UK, at the group directed by professor Mark Smales. The group is composed of about twenty people and has an established experience of work with mammalian cell cultures for the production of proteins, often in collaboration with biotech companies. My PhD project aims to quantify for the first time the abundance of tRNAs and their chemical modifications in mammalian cells and try to manipulate them to improve growth and productivity. At the same time, we aim to publish the first panoramic of lncRNAs in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells in literature, in different conditions, and to identify candidate targets to manipulate.
What kind of tips would you give to future PhDs taking part in an ITN?
Living in a foreign country can be difficult especially at the beginning but my experience has been absolutely positive. I was helped by the English language here in the UK, so this could be a thing to evaluate in other countries, but everyone has always been supportive and friendly, both at work and outside. Having a group of people in our network throughout Europe in the same condition to share experiences was also really helpful!
Davide Vito, UoK
My scientific interest as always been directed towards the molecular biology behind the regulation of the genome in mammalian cells and the translation of mRNAs. An emerging trend in this field comprises the understanding of the non-coding part of the genome and of the mechanisms related to the actively transcribed non-coding molecules. I had the chance to work on the characterization of lncRNAs in different cancer cell lines using qRT-PCR, arrays and techniques of fractionation during my BSc thesis project at the University of Bologna, Italy.