by Daniele Mandia, Sassari, Italy
My EAN Research Fellowship took place at the Institut Necker Enfants Malades in Paris, at the Laboratory of Prof. Peter Van Endert (“Innate and adaptive immune pathways in autoimmunity and autoinflammation”) between 2020 and 2021, under the supervision of Dr Yann Nadjar. The project was focused on the research of markers on motor neuron cell degeneration in adult-onset gangliosidosis GM2, a rare lysosomal disease (ultra-rare, if we talk about the adult-onset form). The goal was not only to study this disease, but also to see if there were any similarities with another, more common but equally ominous disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS).
My weeks started with a meeting on Monday morning, looking at the Eiffel Tower through the window of the meeting room and discussing the progress of the previous week as well as the next steps for the week to come.
Afterwards, I spent most of my days practicing and practicing my experiences, with a great help from my (sadly temporary) colleagues as well as my supervisor who, when he was not in the lab, was reachable at any time of the day. For the record, it was my first time working on cellular biology, and without their support I would have never reached my goals.
I had the chance to learn several tools in cellular biology, some simple (even basic) other quite complicate even for an experienced biologist. Unfortunately, the pandemic froze my project for several months but the EAN gave me the possibility to extend my period of stay, in order to accomplish at least a part of my objectives. For this, thanks to the EAN and I hope to continue working on this project in the near future!