Hi, I’m Marta Rojas Rodríguez (ESR7) and I’m currently working on my PhD research project as a part of the Bio2Brain consortium, at LENS (European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy) at Calamai’s Lab (Florence, Italy). The Bio2Brain aim is to develop an innovative drug delivery technology from the nose to the brain to achieve a viable, controlled, and safe release of biopharmaceuticals, like monoclonal antibodies, to the central nervous system. In particular, we are taking care of understanding the mechanisms of release and trafficking of biopharmaceuticals using different imaging approaches like single molecule tracking or light sheet microscopy. The MSCA-ITN gives us the opportunity to visit different labs inside the consortium, learn from our partners and share scientific knowledge.

I carried out two of my planned secondments from March 5th to April 2nd  2022,  because of the geographical proximity, in the district of Biberach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. I started at the Hochschule Biberach (HBC) located in the city of Biberach and der Riss, where I learned the extraction and culture of primary cells from the olfactory epithelium and respiratory epithelium from pigs. I learned how to use transwells to obtain a polarized monolayer of this primary cell culture too. I had the opportunity to participate in the weekly lab meetings with the team of Prof. Dr. Katherina Zimmerman so I could learn what they were doing. Everybody was very helpful, happy to show me their work and they were always open for scientific discussion. Furthermore, I was able to show my work and explain the Bio2Brain project in their journal club. Also, I had the opportunity to meet some of my ESRs colleagues in person since some of them work there, and others were there at the same time as me.

Then, I visited Vektor Pharma TF GmbH, located in the town of Uttenweiler, where I learned how a pharmaceutical company works, the products they make from start to finish; formulations, manufacturing, optimization, testing and packaging, and how to work under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) rules. I also, had the opportunity to share my work and the Bio2Brain project with the team managed by Dr. Thomas Beckert. They were very kind people and they made sure to pick me up and drop me off every day, since the company is located a few kilometers away from Biberach and it is not easily reachable by public transport.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to live this experience, not only for what I’ve learned but also for the people I’ve met and the inspiration I got from them.