My six months at Washington University, St. Louis and at Icahn School of Medicine, New York, USA

 

IBA student and the recipient of the IBA travel grant for research stays abroad, Anders Madsen, has spent six months in the US working on his PhD (he is currently enrolled at The University of Bergen). This is what he had to say about it!

Anders at Washington University in St. Louis, September 2018

 

From July to December 2018 I conducted research in Dr. Ali Ellebedy’s lab at Washington University in St. Louis and in Professor Florian Krammer’s lab at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. As a medical research student at University of Bergen, my project aims at better understanding the antibody response to influenza. The purpose of this research visit was to address fundamental questions about the immune response to influenza by generating monoclonal antibodies from human B-cells. 

Manhattan, New York, November 2018

 

Although influenza is a harmless disease for most people, it accounts for around 300 000 to 600 000 deaths every year. A major goal in the field of influenza is to develop an efficient prophylactic vaccine that provides long-lasting protection against a broad range of influenza viruses. The current seasonal influenza vaccines do not have these traits. My research project in USA involved generating monoclonal antibodies against neuraminidase (NA), which is a protein located on the surface of the influenza virus. We found that the antibodies targeting NA could bind to a broad range of influenza viruses, and were able to protect mice from lethal influenza infection. Our findings will bring valuable insight into the NA-specific antibody response to influenza. We plan to publish our results in a high-ranking international journal, and hope that it will contribute to generate better vaccination strategies for influenza in the future. 

Anders at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, December 2018

 

What I bring back to Norway is an increased knowledge of immunology and influenza, and a broader view of research in general. I have learned many new laboratory techniques and experiments, which we plan to establish here at the Influenza Centre, University of Bergen. The research visit has strengthened the collaboration with the research groups in USA, and I have made lifelong friends. To be given the opportunity to learn from world leading influenza researchers has been an invaluable experience for me as a young scientist.I will always remember my six months in USA – not because of the country itself, or because it is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, or even because it was the most hardworking months of my life, but because of the inspiring people I worked with. I am very thankful for the IBA travel grant, which made this research visit possible. 

New upcoming course: Creating Scientific Illustrations

Do you want to use illustrations as an effective communication tool? Learn the essentials of graphic design and visual communication theory, drawing by hand and drawing digitally during this one week course with Pina Kingman. To join the course 11-15 February 2019 in Bergen, apply within 16 December 2018. More information on the course you can find on our course list or here

Time and place: Feb. 11, 2019 11:00 AM – Feb. 15, 2019 1:00 PM, University of Bergen

Annual IBA meeting in Tromsø!

 

 

We would like to thank all the speakers and participants for contributing to a great annual IBA meeting in Tromsø! The scientific presentations were inspiring, the weather was perfect, and the food at Ishavshotel was delicious. We hope that you were able to get to know each other, mingle around and establish a long-lasting collaborations with fellow scientists. After all, this is what IBA is all about!

 

My two months at Michigan State University, Michigan, USA

 

IBA student and the recipient of the IBA travel grant for research stays abroad, Erik Paulshus, has spent two months in the US working on his PhD (he is currently enrolled at NMBU, Ås). This is what he had to say about it!

  

Michigan State University, Michigan, USA

My PhD project aims at identifying the major sources of antibiotic resistance in urban wastewaters. Approaching this issue, we have looked at phenotypic and resistance profiles in bacterial isolates cultivated from wastewater samples and measured the levels of antibiotics. The third approach was to look at the prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the corresponding samples. The project was initially run in parallel to a European project in which the same method for detecting ARGs was used. The European counterpart was however finished before my sampling campaign was ready, and the plan of shipping my samples alongside the European ones to MSU had to be altered. Since I had many samples to analyze, the research group at MSU offered to host me at their labs so that I could assist with the analysis to reduce the time needed as well as learn the methods.

Erik at Lansing Capitol Building (Capitol of Michigan)

IBA was very generous in accepting my application for a travel grant to stay the two months in Michigan to do the intended work. James Tiedje is a University Distinguished Professor and Director at MSU and has vast experience in the field of environmental microbiology. The method I would be using to analyze my samples involves a very large array of qPCR reactions that are run in parallel at the Research Technology Support Facility (RTSF). A very big thanks to Professor Syed Hashsham who leads the environmental engineering lab where the preparation of samples was performed and his colleagues for help with the lab work. Some thanks are also allotted to James Cole, director of the ribosomal database project for allowing me a desk space in his computer labs at times when my designated office area was completely uninhabited.

 

Erik at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Several complications leading up to my stay at MSU and during my stay did make the whole experience a little bit less successful then we would have hoped, but I did learn a great deal about American bureaucracy! I was lucky enough to find a student housing options that relieved some of the strain on the IBA grant budget, and I was also able to travel a bit and see several places in Michigan, including a two-night stay in Chicago and a visit to my American second cousin Krista near Grand Rapids, whom I’ve not met in person until now.

I am very thankful for meeting so many positive and encouraging researchers in a country that has recently been given a very harsh reputation, and even though things don't always work out as planned, I am also forever grateful to IBA for granting me this opportunity.

IBA/NDPIA COURSE ON ANTIBIOTICS AND ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

 

A unique intensive course on “Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance” is jointly organised by IBA and the National Doctoral Programme in Infections and Antibiotics (NDPIA) 26-30 November, 2018, at Hjortviken Konferens outside Gothenburg. The course features lectures by internationally leading scientists, opportunities for participants to present research in poster walks and ample time for networking. Scientific lectures describing antibiotic resistance from other perspectives focusing on ethics, public awareness and media are also included. The preliminary program is available here Preliminary Programme Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance NDPIA IBA

Registration deadline: 17 September 2018

For more details and information on how to apply see the course page.

1st Annual CryoNet Symposium

 

Time and place: October 8-9 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark

The 1st Annual CryoNet Symposium will gather Scandinavian researchers, students and technical staff to discuss the latest advances in Cryo-electron microscopy with some of the world leading researchers in the field.

International participants are also welcome to register! The maximum number of attendees are 150.

Abstract deadline: Abstracts will be selected for short talks and/or poster presentation. Send your abstract (max 300 words) to lotta.avesson@cpr.ku.dk no later than August 31 2018.

For more information please visit this link.

Note: IBA cannot at this point support attendance of the symposium.

TTA Bioinformatics course Level 2

 

Venue: University of Oslo, Domus Medica, PC-stua (R211) 

Application deadline: August 27th 2018

Please sign up for the course here.

This course is a continuation of TTA bioinformatics course level 1 and requires some basic knowledge of whole genome assembly, including quality assessment of raw data, trimming and contig assembly. Although not a strict requirement, we do recommend participants to attend in level 1 before signing up for this advanced course.

Participants of the hands-on session must bring their own laptops. A list of required preparations including instructions on how to install Geneious trial version will be provided end of August.

 

Part I: Seminars 11:00 – 12:30:

Theoretical introduction to the course and short repetition of required level 1 content.

11:00 – 11:30  Timo Lutter (TTA) – SNP calling, phylogenetic tree building and whole genome alignment

                        Nermin Zecic (TTA) – RNAseq and differential gene expression

11:30 – 12:00  Henrik Hasman – (Statens Serum Institut, DK) – Identification of acquired antibiotic resistance genes with ResFinder

12:00 – 12:30  Jon Bolin (FHI) – Mechanisms of foreign DNA acquisition and their detection in microbial genomes

12:30 – 13:00  Lunch

 

Part II: Hands-on exercises 13:00 – approx. 17:00:

  • Map to reference assembly and building SNP trees in Geneious with RAxML(using Ebola virus isolates as an example)

  • Basic alignments of bacterial genomes and draft genomes to detect large-scale evolutionary events (rearrangements/inversions) with Mauve

  • RNAseq and differential gene expression in Geneious

  • Introduction to Center for Genomic Epidemiology and ResFinder for identification of antimicrobial resistance genes