ISCOMS research fellowships

Are you a young, ambitious, (bio)medical student and would you like to experience doing research in the University Medical Centre Groningen? The ISCOMS Research Fellowships (IRF) give students who present their research at ISCOMS the opportunity to experience doing research in the Netherlands and more specifically in the UMCG.

Various Research Institutes of the UMCG are interested in welcoming young and talented foreign (bio)medical students into their institutes and giving them the opportunity to experience what doing research in the UMCG is like. As a student you will get the chance to perform research at a leading institute, meet top-researchers, and learn more about the possibilities of doing a PhD-programme in the Netherlands. The IRF are available for presenting participants of the congress only.

When your abstract is chosen to be presented at our congress, you will receive information about the IRF application. It is important to know that we only have a limited number of places for students to participate in these projects. Therefore, we have a special application procedure for the IRF-projects.

The fellowships take place directly after the congress, from the 14th of June until the 25th of June 2021. We have arranged for them to be completely digital! No additional costs are charged for participation.

The IRF are a challenging two-week programme in which students are expected to actively participate in research at one of the UMCG Research Institutes and gather a great deal of knowledge related to the topic of research. As a student you get the chance to perform research at a leading institute, meet top-researchers and – more importantly – learn about the possibilities of doing a PhD-programme in the Netherlands. There are many foreign students who have been able to start a PhD-programme in the UMCG thanks to following a fellowship.

IRF projects

Project A: Translation of bench results to use of drugs in the clinic in lymphoma

Department: Pathology and Medical Biology

Supervisor: Lydia Visser, PhD

We have a choice of 2 projects to work on, one is the use of BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax in diffuse large B cell lymphoma. BCL-2 is highly expressed in DLBCL and venetoclax has been shown very effective and safe in the clinic. What are the problems and possibilities to use venetoclax in DLBCL? The other project is the mechanism of PD-L1 inhibition in Hodgkin lymphoma. PD-L1 inhibition is a very effective treatment in Hodgkin lymphoma, but it is not clear how it works.

We will read papers and work with data already available in our lab to explore these mechanisms.

Project B: Improving maternal care in low income countries: how are interprofessional education and collaboration implemented?

Department: Health Sciencecs

Supervisors: M.A.C. Versluis PhD, F.Y. Asmara, E.L. Wanders MD

The ‘Millennium development goals’ for decreasing the global maternal death rate (MMR) to 102 per 100.000 live-births by 2015 have not been met. The highest MMR, present in Sub-Saharan Africa, is even up to 550-680 per 100.000 live-births. The new aim is to decrease the MMR to 70 per 100.000 live-births by 2030. Studies have shown that teamwork and collaboration improve quality of care. It has also been shown in literature that interprofessional education (IPE) is increasingly viewed as a learning approach to improve cooperation in health work teams.

Is such an improvement in quality of care also feasible in maternal health in low income countries? What projects in IPE are already implemented in low resource settings and with what results? What do we know about IPE in this setting, and what questions remain unanswered? To find out, we are performing a scoping review.

If you are interested in international health care, maternity care and the field of health education, we could use your help! Our goal is to include you in verifying articles for implementation and analyzing the outcomes. We would also appreciate your input regarding the broader discussion around the subject of international maternal health and the possibilities of interprofessional education.

Project C: Mining the human gut metagenomes to understand the human-bacteria interactions

Department: Genetics

Supervisors:  S. Garmaeva MSc, Prof. A. Zhernakova PhD

In the last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world started realising how the microbes and especially viruses surrounding us can affect our health, lifestyle and even mood. Even our body is not sterile, it harbours a complex ecosystem of microorganisms, including bacteria and prokaryotic and eukaryotic viruses. The majority of these microbial communities resides in the gut, forming the human gut microbiome. The human gut microbiome’s composition and diversity have been recently established using large population-based studies and associated with multiple human-health factors, lifestyle and diet. However, we still do not know the mechanisms behind the majority of microbiome associations. To study these mechanisms, one would need to culture every bacterial species from the human microbiota and perform many cloning and animal model experiments. Luckily, the use of the recent advances in genome assembly and annotation can prioritize the bacterial species for in vitro studies. During the internship, we will get familiar with the main bacterial genome assembly and annotation tools and try to study particular microbiome associations.

Project D: Are young people more complex than older people? Changes in cardio-respiratory-locomotor coupling during physical activity  

Department: Human Movement Sciences

Supervisor: Prof. Claudine Lamoth, PhD

The natural process of aging is accompanied by a myriad of structural and functional changes in the human body. As these changes progress a decline in physical fitness, balance control, sensorimotor function, and motor control is observed. At the behavioral level, the decline in these systems inhibits the capacity of the body to function independently and adapt to the environment, especially among the expanding number of old (older than ∼60 yr.) and very old (older than ∼80 yr.) adults. The neuro-motor-physiological systems are complex systems comprising of many interacting component subsystems that are connected over a variety of different scales and levels. A hallmark of healthy complex systems is that various neuro-motor-physiological parameters tend to oscillate between several steady states, and are coupled resulting in synchronized behavior, e.g. cardio-respiratory, locomotor-cardio or locomotor-respiratory systems. When we breathe and walk, we frequently make the same number of steps during each breath and our breath syncs with the heartbeat. Heart-beats per minute or time between steps of walking may stay relatively constant for a long time, yet the fluctuations between beats, or the variability of steps during waking become more regular and less complex with age.

In this project, we study the effect of age on the interaction between the locomotor, cardiac respiratory systems in terms of coupling during controlled physical activity tasks (walking on a treadmill, balance task) and during daily life activities. Participants (18–70 years) will wear a smart T-shirt with embedded textile sensors when walking (5 min) running (5 min) rest and again walking and running outside.

Synchronization of locomotion-respiratory-cardio rhythms will be established by applying signal analysis methods that quantify phase- or frequency locking epochs.

For this project knowledge of Matlab or Python and/or R-software is required.

Project E: Pseudolesions and pseudodefects of the humerus; how to differentiate them from true lesions

Department: Radiology

Supervisor: Sandra Hein MD

The main question will be: what is known about the pseudolesion, pseudo Hill Sachs defect, and the pseudo reversed Hill Sachs defect so far? And how can we differentiate them from tumors or a Hill Sachs c.q. a Reversed Hill Sachs defect.

Anatomical knowledge of the shoulder is required for participation.