Our PhD students (ESRs)

Where did you receive your master degree?

School of Pharmacy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Construction of a recombined herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-1), by substitution of UL44 HSV-1 gene with a reporter gene.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

To identify and functionally characterize uniquely differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in murine and human helper T cell subsets.

What do you like best about your new location?

German people always welcome you with a smile, which reflects their advanced quality of culture and life.

What do you still need to get used to?

Adaptation to a non-Mediterranean climate is always a striking issue, especially when hail, sun and rain make their appearance during the very same day.

Where did you receive your master degree?

Faculty of Science and Instituto de Medicina Molecular – University of Lisbon

What was the title of your master thesis?

The role of neurotrophic factor receptors in Innate Lymphoid Cell immunity.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

To study the role of metabolic pathways in T cell activation and differentiation.

What do you like best about your new location?

Hannover is very green and the public transportation system is great. It is very easy to get around without a car, both within the city and within the country.

What do you still need to get used to?

The fact that mostly everything is closed on Sundays and that everything closes earlier in general. The days begin and end earlier than what I was used to. I also miss Portuguese food and coffee.

Where did you receive your master degree?

Wageningen University, Netherlands.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Isolation, Characterization and Recombination of Enterobacteria Phages.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

Determining the influence of CD28 and its ligands CD86 and CD80 on Tfh differentiation.

What do you like best about your new location?

London is very diverse and has a lot to offer. I previously lived in a very small city so this is a nice change. I also enjoy that London is a very green city with a lot of parks, which I did not expect when I first came here.

What do you still need to get used to?

I am used to getting everywhere very fast by bike so it takes some getting used to having to rely on public transport and not be as flexible.

Attractive ESR position as ENLIGHT-TEN PhD student available.

For details see https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/170628

Where did you receive your master degree?

University of Tampere, Finland.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Computational functional prediction of novel long noncoding RNA in TCGA glioblastoma multiform samples.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

Developing novel bioinformatics tool that can be used in identifying gene regulatory sites and characterizing helper T-cell related molecular signature by integrating multiple single cell omics data.

What do you like best about your new location?

As I did not start my work at Aarhus due to delay in visa application process, I cannot answer this question fully. But I have seen the beauty of the city and friendly working environment during my site visit.

What do you still need to get used to?

I cannot also answer this question fully as I did not start my work at Aarhus.

Where did you receive your master degree?

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Identification of atypical cytokine patterns in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

To develop a model that incorporates the translatability of cytokine responses from animal models to human subjects in order to allow the safe and quick identification of maximum tolerated doses in clinical phase I studies.

What do you like best about your new location?

I did not start my work due to delay in visa application process.

What do you still need to get used to?

I did not start my work due to delay in visa application process.

Where did you receive your master degree?

Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Genome-wide profiling of RNA polymerase II and associated co-transcriptional processes using advanced NET-seq data.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

The main goal of my PhD project is to define the key moments to T-helper cell identity definition after Naive cell activation. It is possible to use single-cell RNA-seq data to describe gene expression variation profiles with high temporal resolution. The knowledge obtained can then be crossed with other published datasets to pinpoint the time when gene expression starts to point to a certain cell fate.

What do you like best about your new location?

Cambridge is a small yet lively city in the English countryside. I especially like the blend between the rural, quiet aspect of its location, and the bustling academic environment that surrounds it.

What do you still need to get used to?

I like the aspects above, but it also took some time to get used to them, especially having lived by the sea for so long before moving to the UK.

Where did you receive your master degree?

University of York, UK.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Automatic molecular docking of the DUD benchmark using AutoDock Vina.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

Transcriptional profile of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells induced by type 1 and type 2 adjuvants.

What do you like best about your new location?

The long sunny days,everyday, friendly people even when just walking on the streets.

What do you still need to get used to?

Portuguese language....but learning new language is good fun.

Where did you receive your master degree?

I completed my Honours research year at the Australian National University.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Investigating the physiological consequences of two rare point mutations in OTUD7B and their contribution to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

My project ultimately aims to use a combination of in vivo and in silico work to better understand how aging affects the germinal center response in order to gain insights into improving vaccination efficacy in older individuals.

What do you like best about your new location?

Cambridge is such a charming town. I really like the picturesque colleges full of history and quirky traditions. Most of them are even older than my hometown!

What do you still need to get used to?

I definitely still need to get used to the English weather!

Where did you receive your master degree?

University of Vienna.

What was the title of your master thesis?

The interferon response of intestinal epithelial cells is affected by aryl hydrocarbon receptor deficiency as well as ageing.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

Defining the role of environmental factors in Th17 differentiation.

What do you like best about your new location?

The vibrant, international student life in Cambridge combined with the peaceful gardens in my college.

What do you still need to get used to?

Left-hand traffic and all the weird measuring units the British insist to use.

Where did you receive your master degree?

University of Bordeaux.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Structural analysis of proteins short fragments to improve conformational sampling methods.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

My work is motivated by the recent breakthroughs in T cell immunology, and the large dataset that it will produce. Novel data-driven computational tools for analysing high-dimensional molecular data will inevitably be needed to transform the large-scale measurement data into understanding about T cells and related signatures due to the amount of data that sequencing studies are able to produce. Novel experimentally testable computational predictions and hypotheses about T cell- related signatures in health and disease will help understand diseases by looking at, for instance, the presence of transcriptions factors or histone modifications.

What do you like best about your new location?

The people of Finland are extremely nice and easy to communicate with since most of the people know how to speak English.

What do you still need to get used to?

I still have to get used to the food.

Where did you receive your master degree?

Universita' Vita-Salute San Raffaele Milano.

What was the title of your master thesis?

Effects of dietary starch on systemic autoimmunity.

What is the key objective of your PhD project?

The main goal of my PhD project is to study the role of some receptors of the TNF superfamily (TNFRSF) in the biology of regulatory T cells (Treg). First I will analyse their impact on Treg proliferation, expansion, survival and function.Then, I will study signal transduction and molecular signature induced by their activation. This will provide knowledge on signaling pathways that are shared by different TNFR family members and that are specific to some of these molecules. It may reveal connections between a given biological effect and a specific signaling pathway or a molecular signature. Further work will be to analyze target genes of these transcription factors and to analyse the impact of knocking-down these factors on Treg biology with a possible therapeutic application in autoimmune diseases.

What do you like best about your new location?

I am really happy to have the chance to do my PhD abroad because I love travelling, meeting people and knowing new cultures. In particular I believe Paris is an amazing city for several reasons. First, the buildings and streets are very impressive and beautiful. Each neighborhood is different for the others and has characteristic features and this allows you to try different places and atmospheres based on what you are looking for (romantic date, cultural visit or a night out with friends). Second, it is full of museums, galleries and events. It offers activities for each kind of person in the field of sport, culture, fashion, food or nature. You cannot be bored! And third, there are some personal reasons why I like Paris namely because it is close to Italy that allows me to come back home frequently and also because French lifestyle, culture and habits are really similar to Italian ones and this makes me feel home.

What do you still need to get used to?

I am really happy to have the chance to do my PhD abroad because I love travelling, meeting people and knowing new cultures. In particular I believe Paris is an amazing city for several reasons. First, the buildings and streets are very impressive and beautiful. Each neighborhood is different for the others and has characteristic features and this allows you to try different places and atmospheres based on what you are looking for (romantic date, cultural visit or a night out with friends). Second, it is full of museums, galleries and events. It offers activities for each kind of person in the field of sport, culture, fashion, food or nature. You cannot be bored! And third, there are some personal reasons why I like Paris namely because it is close to Italy that allows me to come back home frequently and also because French lifestyle, culture and habits are really similar to Italian ones and this makes me feel home.

Training WP

ENLIGHT-TEN has developed a high-quality educational programme consisting of eight training modules to provide all its PhD students with specialist high-level research training, a broad scientific skill set and experience of both academic and industrial working environments. The overall aim of this training programme is to equip all PhD students with combined expertise in T cell immunology as well as acquisition and interpretation of large data sets.

Module 1 - University-based education

PhD students of the ENLIGHT-TEN network will enrol in the local PhD programmes of the hosting beneficiaries. All PhD students will attend courses, lectures and seminars as required for successful completion of the respective local PhD programme. In these programmes, ESRs will have the possibility to enhance their transferable skills abilities and improve their interdisciplinary knowledge. Courses on scientific writing and presentation, intercultural communication, good scientific practice and ethical aspects of science are offered on a regular basis within the local PhD programmes, thereby complementing the network-wide ENLIGHT-TEN training on transferable skills.

Module 2 – Research project-based education

PhD students will work on cutting-edge research projects in the field of T cell biology and bioinformatics. Each PhD student will be assigned to the laboratory of the PI representing the network beneficiary in the application. The day-to-day local supervision and training will thus be performed by an individual PI and experienced members of the laboratory that host the PhD student.

Module 3 – Personal career development plan

ENLIGHT-TEN is strongly committed to the long-term career development of the PhD students by providing both personal and network career development through relevant courses and effective personal mentoring. A central crux of this process is the generation of a tailored personal career development plan for each PhD student at the beginning of the project.

Module 4 –Annual network meetings

The ENLIGHT-TEN network will have four annual network meetings (one at the end of every year). All annual network meetings will last for 2 ½ days and will consist of a closed part for ENLIGHT-TEN members only at which the progress of the individual research projects will be presented and discussed, and an open scientific workshop.

The annual network meetings will have the following topics for the open sessions:

Module 5 – Annual Summer Schools

ENLIGHT-TEN will organise four annual Summer Schools for PhD students, each of which is planned as a 5-day training session. Trainees will acquire in-depth knowledge of immunology and will be introduced to a range of bioinformatic tools to analyse -omics data in an immunological context. Moreover, they will acquire complementary skills with respect to industry-related matters from the ENLIGHT-TEN private sector beneficiaries and partners.

The Summer Schools will have the following topics:

Module 6 – International Symposium in Paris

In the final year of the network, we will organise a three-day International Symposium on "Understanding the beauty of T cell biology by novel -omics technologies". As a part of the training programme, PhD students will be responsible for the organisation of the meeting (i.e. selection of speakers, arranging the programme, selection of abstracts, etc).

Module 7 - Web-based teaching resources

We will support web-based teaching activities for PhD students, such as their participation in courses on online teaching platforms like "Elevate your health knowledge" (www.elevatehealth.eu/courses). Furthermore, ENLIGHT-TEN will cooperate with the EUREKA Institute for Translational Medicine (www.eurekainstitute.org), an international collaborative and educational network in Translational Medicine. EUREKA will provide existing training modules and will develop e-learning modules adapted specifically for ENLIGHT-TEN training needs in the field of Translational Medicine.

Module 8 – Secondments

The secondments are an essential part of the ENLIGHT-TEN training programme to foster mobility within the network and to increase interactions between partner institutions. PhD students will primarily pursue their research projects at the institution they are appointed to, however, for successful completion of their projects access to complementary expertise available at partner institutions is essential. All PhD students will have a minimum of two secondments and will be exposed to the industrial sector.