We are Zala and Lea, microbiology and biochemistry students from Slovenia. Thanks to the IVY volunteer program, we are currently involved in the TRANS-GLIOMA project at Medical Center for Molecular Biology. The main goal of the program is to increase cooperation among research institutes, hospitals, universities and companies involved in brain cancer (glioblastoma) research. With joint forces we aim to discover new diagnostic methods and treatments for this currently incurable disease. Our research group, which is led by prof. Komel, is focused on searching glioblastoma stem cell markers that can be specifically detected with nanobodies and finding an efficient drug intake system to reach through the blood-brain barrier.
Just a normal “all-smiley” day in the lab
During our experience we were involved in various experiments, such as isolation of exosomes, production, purifying and labelling of nanobodies and packaging nanobodies into exosomes. After production of nanobodies we investigated if they were binding to the estimated target with immunocytochemistry and we tested their impact on glioblastoma stem cell viability with metabolic assays. Furthermore, we tried different techniques such as sonication, passive transition and saponification to pack nanobodies inside exosomes.
Immunocytochemistry performed on glioblastoma stem cells
Working in close contact with this great team of research scientists and just being able to learn from them every day was really an enriching experience. We acquired knowledge about many new scientific methods and developed new skills in different laboratory techniques that will definitely help us in our future careers. We also got the chance to attend an international conference called “Brain tumors; from bench to clinic” that helped us get an in-depth view of the current state of glioblastoma research and new advancements in the field. But most of all, we are thankful for all the lovely people we met and the friendships that we built!
Although we were fully concentrated on the conference, we managed to snap a quick photo.
We are grateful to IVY and our mentors for the opportunity to work in such an interesting area of research which we believe will make an impact in the future of brain cancer treatment.
Thank you! :)