Adriana Pitea visited UC San Diego, USA

A key element of the Helmholtz Research School of Radiation Sciences is to promote the international network of graduate students. Students benefit from research stays abroad by getting access to new techniques and lab equipment, collaborations with international scientists and gaining new insights into research areas. Adriana Pitea, RS2 student at ZYTO and ICB, took the chance and went from 10th March to 01st June 2017 to San Diego, USA.

Adriana Pitea / Source: HMGU

One of the good opportunities for developing myself as a scientist was to experience how other successful scientists work. My PhD project focused on cancer genomics and reconstructing networks that may explain cancer mechanisms. The Trey Ideker Lab is world-renowned in the field of network reconstruction. For this reason, I first casually made contact with one of the post-docs and talked about our projects. Dr. Trey Ideker together with Dr. Wei Zhang decided that I am a good candidate for their lab. With a project idea in mind, I applied for an inter-disciplinary fellowship and then for the RS2 funding dedicated to lab exchanges. Obtaining these two fundings allowed me to fully cover my accommodation, transportation, VISA and UCSD registration fee expenses, together with the daily quota. The lab is located in La Jolla, San Diego, part of the UC San Diego of Medicine campus. I was living in La Jolla between the 10th of March and 1st of June 2017. During my stay, I started working on a project together with Dr. Wei Zhang, - Trey Ideker Lab, M.D. John Gordon and Dr. Manon Eckhardt from the Krogan Lab UC San Francisco. Dr. Trey Ideker was my main supervisor. This project allowed me to develop my understanding of the network propagation concept and of the role that viral infections play in liver cancer. We are currently working on the figures and planning on submitting a paper where I will be first author as soon as we have addressed all the questions we had planned.

All in all, I can say that the work environment, the way I was given feedback and background knowledge, the way we communicated throughout the whole time I was there, allowed me to maximize my efficiency and to always find myself motivated to work on the project.