The second training event for ALKATRAS in Brno, Czech Republic was graciously hosted by CEITIC. Our biannual training events aim to acquaint us students with modern technologies, and in Brno we were learning about “New Technologies in Genome Analysis“. Amid freezing temperatures down to -12oC, CEITIC was a sight for cold eyes: A one of a kind and state-of-the-art scientific centre!
On the first day the training coordinators Dr Boris Tichy and Filip Pardy gave us a tour of the Genomic Core Facility, which is spread across a remarkable area of 25,000m2. I was impressed with the array of advanced machines and equipment used in the study of the cells and genomes. After an introductory session, we received hands on experience covering some of the routinely performed experiments in genome analysis.
On our second day, we benefited from lectures by a number of prominent researchers from institutes such as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). We received an insight into how the world of genomics is currently evolving. An important topic we discussed were the difficulties associated with critically and effectively analysing the humongous amount of data being produced in cancer genomics.
The event ended with a guided tour of the Mendel Museum followed by a social dinner at the nearby Starobrno Brewery. During dinner we sat together discussing what we had learned, but we also get to know each other better now. To be one of 15 PhD students is a great opportunity to develop an international network of colleagues and friends. Certainly an important perk of a training network.
Personally, I benefit greatly from the training event experiences, which are an obligatory part of a Marie-Curie PhD program. I view them as another perk of being part of Alkatras as they really broaden our knowledge. It is very exciting to be taught in a small group by scientists, who are taking different approaches towards understanding cancer. With that in mind, I am already excited about our next meeting in Cambridge.