2017 NDM Summer Internship Programme Student Profiles

Interns from Brazil

Ana Queiroz

Ana Luiza Lemos Queiroz (Callipe Dendrou), MSc student at Federal University of Minas Gerais in genetics.

I am very interested in the fields of Immunology, Microbiology and Genetics. I started my research career in 2009, working in a Laboratory of Imunnopharmacology, where I developed research about inflammation, bipolar disorder, Influenza virus and Dengue virus. After that, I did some experiments at Laboratory of Applied Microbiology, in the same university I am currently enrolled. During my year abroad in the United States, I did an internship at Harvard Medical School, where I did research about Salmonella and its interaction with intestinal cells. Back in Brazil, I did an internship at Brazilian Federal Police and Brazilian Environmental Agency (Ibama), which is where I started to develop my interest in the area of forensic DNA.I am a masters student in genetics at Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Markers, at Federal University of Minas Gerais. My current project is focused on using genetics to identify and reduce illegal wildlife traffic. To do this, we use Next Generation Sequencing, developing new barcodes and primers and analyzing microsatellites. 

This summer, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Calliope Dendrou, researching genetics and autoimmune diseases, more specifically about TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2). All the time she was focused to teach us as much as she can. Even with the short time of an internship, I learned a lot! More than that, everyone in the lab was supportive and helpful. I also had the chance to meet people from all around the world, which is what makes this internship not only a professional experience, but also good for personal growth.

I have no doubt that this summer internship was the best experience of my life, and I will never forget it! Everything was amazing and now I miss my days over there. I strongly encourage any student to apply for the NDM summer internship programme, which is a unique opportunity! 

Interns from China

Choi Yi Fung (Benoit Van Der Eynde), BSc student at the University of Hong Kong.

I participated in a project at Benoit Van Den Eynde’s lab at the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research, which was about cancer vaccines. The aim of the vaccine was to induce some immune cells to target a tumour-specific antigens, hence guide the body to attack the tumour only. I optimised protocols and examined the different types of expression of that antigen in various cell types under different conditions. I interacted with other interns as well as those working in the building, and explored the area with my companions.

I came to understand more about the academic path and cancer vaccine research after much discussion and experimentation. I was allowed to work independently at times but would also have discussions with my group leader and PhD partner, so I had a better grasp on experimental design techniques as well as troubleshooting. It has been an eye-opening and humbling experience, and it was a good rest from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. I feel rested and energetic enough to restart work at my Mphil immediately after I returned from Oxford.

Thank you for supporting my stay and internship at Oxford! I have gained very valuable experience, knowledge and friendship in this small town, and this would never have been possible without you. You made dreams a reality.

Yuqing Wang (Panagis Filippakopoulos), BSc student at Peking University.

I joined the Professor Filippakopoulos group as an intern for ten weeks, doing a collaborative project with the Dr. Kawamura group. I tried to find BRD4-ET domain binding peptides by the mRNA Selection method, and tested them. Apart from this, I attended group meetings, seminars and gave a final presentation. 

This is the first time I have done research abroad. It helped me learn how British labs work, which are quite different from those in China. Collaboration, which could make research more efficient, is more common in Britain. I will pay more attention to collaborating in the future. This internship gave me a chance to experience the lab abroad and thus help me decide where to get my further degree.

Thanks to the Victor and William Fung Foundation, the NDM programme is available to Chinese students, and I could do this internship without giving my family a financial burden. I could give all my attention to the research without caring a lot about how to support my expenses in Oxford.

Interns from Japan

Saki Takayanagi (Calliope Dendrou) 1st year MSc student at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

I’ve been working on my research project of investigating the role of a MAP3K, ASK1 on inflammatory pathway for last one year and a half.

In the NDM summer internship, I worked at the Welcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics under the supervision of Dr. Calliope Dendrou. The aim of the project was to resolve genetic associations in autoimmune diseases. During my internship, I worked on projects on a protein kinase, TYK2, and on neuromyelitis optica. In addition to conducting experiments, I learned some cutting-edge technologies in genetics from seminars and journal clubs. Since I am basically a molecular biologist, working with Dr. Dendrou, who is an expert in immunology and in genetics, gave me a new insight in biology.
Furthermore, the programme gave me an invaluable opportunity to interact with outstanding researchers and interns from all over the world. This experience strongly encouraged me to pursue my career as a researcher. I strongly recommend all the students who are willing to improve yourselves in the world-leading research institute to apply to this programme.

Interns from Mexico

Victor Manuel Matias Barrios (Catherine Green), 5th year MD Student at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.

I am currently in clinical training for my MD degree. As a part of my academic work, I was involved in two projects at my University. In the Leadership for Social Development module I was able to create an application that helps community workers evaluate the nutritional status of children in poor communities from villages in the Chiapas mountains. In the Research and Innovation module I was a co-author of 4 original clinical research protocols in the Department of Pediatrics.

Last year, I was one of fifteen Mexican students selected by the US Embassy and ANUIES to attend a Summer Research Program at the University of Texas - Dallas where I created a scale to evaluate ER, IL1B and P62 in prostate and breast cancer.

Coming to Oxford has been one of my favorite academic experiences. This is because I was working in Cancer Biology through genomic medicine, the topic that I want to research for life. I was working with CRISPR/Cas9 to create a Knock-in and tagged a protein for a posterior evaluation.

This summer was not just lab work, I met so many persons from different countries and backgrounds as well. My mentor was always supporting me, she always made me feel comfortable. I highly recommend this program, a program where you are going to make excellent memories and where you are going to grow academically and personally.