IIP Internships in Bioscience, Bioengineering, & Chemical Biological Engineering
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology
Location: Nové Hrady, Czech Republic
About: The Center for Nanobiology and Structural Biology was founded in 2002 as a joint laboratory of the Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology of the Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Physical Biology of the University of South Bohemia named Laboratory of High Performance Computing. The laboratory combines methods ranging from computational and spectroscopic to molecular biological and biochemical and, in collaboration with the Kuta Smatanova, lab protein crystallization. With its focus on molecular systems biology, the relationship between structure and function of proteins, dynamic changes related to functional processes on the level of proteins, and the mutual interaction of co-factors and sub-units in protein complexes, the laboratory is an integral part of the new research concept of the Institute.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will be introduced to the computational methods for building and investigation of biological systems and will be able to analyze dynamical changes in systems and learn how to interpret generated data. IIP interns will use special software for modeling biological systems and carrying out molecular dynamics simulations, partly using massive parallel calculations on a beowulf-computer cluster. The underlying experimental basis of all structural information comes from protein crystallography done in house. After receiving intense training during the first weeks, IIP interns will each be responsible for a sub-project that leads to a clear outcome/prediction that can be experimentally verified. Possible sub-projects include a computational project and an experimental project. The IIP interns may also have the opportunity to participate in a symposium on Structure Systems Biology in Bratislava, Slovakia, and/or the opportunity to visit biomedical institutes of the Academy of Sciences in Prague. Each IIP intern will be assigned to one of the following two projects:
- Modeling interactions in and between biomolecules and complex biologically relevant systems - The IIP intern will mainly work with computational tools on data, that are produced by experimentalists in house. After getting intense training during the first weeks, she/he/they will be responsible for a sub-project that leads to a clear outcome/prediction that can be experimentally verified. The IIP intern will also get an insight how the experimental data, like the X-ray structures, are generated and will collaborate directly with the scientists working on that.
- Protein expression and purification, structural and functional characterization of protein systems - This project will focus on the experimental characterization of interactions in and between biomolecules and complex biologically relevant systems (like for example restriction modification system EcoR124I or the cation translocation system TrK1). The IIP intern would not repeat something somebody has done already, but would use a unique mutant, that should alter the functionality. In this sense this is a new and un-characterized protein, as we do not know its actual functionality unless the IIP intern will find out! This project involves: 1) Polymerase chain reaction using primers that would introduce the mutation, amplification of the DNA, 2) Growing of e.coli or yeast cells used later for over-expression, 3) Over-expression of protein in e.coli or yeast cells, 4) French pressing the cells to disrupt them, 5) isolation of protein from the crude extract using gel filtration and affinity and ion exchange chromatography, 6) In vitro assays to monitor protein activity , 7) Ligand-binding studies like ITC/SPR/fluorescence/microscale thermophoresis 8) limited proteolysis. In nearly all steps SDS-phage electrophoresis is used to monitor either the successful amplificiation, the overexpression, the protein purity or the fragments after cleavage.
- The experimental basis for modeling interactions in and between biomolecules - This would be a combined experimental and computational project focusing on protein crystallization and X-ray diffraction of mutants of type I restriction-modification systems to resolve the three-dimensional structure of these proteins. In parallel with the lab work the IIP intern would work computationally on: 1) Solving the X-ray structure and homology modeling 2) Ligand-docking 3) Molecular dynamics simulation of the system in simple-point water, 4) calculation of binding energy.
Qualifications: IIP candidates should have academic interest in life sciences, an understanding of biologically relevant systems and how they can be understood by computational modeling, a good background in physics and mathematics;, and a good relation to computers as a scientific tool. General UNIX knowledge is welcome, but no programming is required.
Previous work experiences (in the words of the past IIP interns): Intern 1: Learned basic Unix commands; Learned a number of types of simulation software (VMD, GROMACS, YASARA, PYMOL); Studied the model system of interest; Performed the necessary modifications to the structures; Determined what sort of simulations to run and how to vary system parameters; Analyzed simulation results; Learned to use various tools to complement the analysis. Intern 2: I worked on project focused on determining the structure and function of HsdR's C-terminal domain. Intern 3: I created a computational model of the S and M sub-units of the Type I Restriction Modification enzyme EcoR124I. This work involved a number of computational programs and algorithms including homology modeling, multiple sequence alignments, protein - protein docking, and molecular dynamics. I learned to work independently on a project and assume responsibility for research that other colleagues in the lab are depending on to get done. My work was important because I created the computational model of two key sub-units of the enzyme EcoR124I (of which there are three sub-units). My project was expanded to include simulations of the protein with different mutations along the helical chain. Once we ran simulations for up to 100 nanoseconds, we had to determine how the mutations were affecting the structure and integrity of the protein. This model will be published in the lab's next paper. Intern 5: I calculated the PMF for the permeation of CA through the human ORAI1 channel...I learned umbrella sampling simulation techniques.
View PowerPoint presentations by past IIP interns:
ASCR Intern #1
ASCR Intern #2
ASCR Intern #3
ASCR Intern #4
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic|
ASTAR Institute of Medical Biology (IMB)
Location: Singapore, Singapore
About: IMB is an institute in the biomedical sciences cluster of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (ASTAR). It started operating in 2007 with a coalescence of research programs from the Centre for Molecular Medicine and the laboratories of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium. It has been joined by groups from top institutions in Singapore and the U.S. and from the biotechnology industry.
Intern Responsibilities: The overarching goal of the lab in which IIP interns would be placed is to develop efficient protocols that convert pluripotential hESCs into functional beta cells. If produced in bulk and in a clinically-compliant fashion, these cells could provide an inexhaustible supply of material for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The lab focuses on three general questions: (1) how to produce bona fide DE from hESC; (2) how to assign pancreatic fate to this progenitor population; and (3) how to specifically direct the progressive specification of early pancreatic cells toward the mature beta cell fate. IIP interns will be paired with a senior member of the lab to pursue one of these fast-moving projects.
Qualifications: Applicants should have competency in basic molecular biology and a keen interest in biomedical research.
Additional background information on the project: A renewable supply of pancreatic beta cells would be invaluable for treating type 1 diabetes. However, despite considerable effort, it is not yet possible to generate functional beta cells from human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC) in vitro. Interestingly, experiments conducted in mice demonstrate that interactions with the surrounding mesenchyme and endothelium orchestrate pancreatic development. The proposed project seeks to identify signals secreted by these tissues and determine how they affect beta cell development. Specifically, microtissues will be generated from different cell types and used to study the interactions between them. The first component of the project involves culturing and differentiating different cell types for inclusion in 3D microtissues. Microtissues will then be treated with inhibitors of signal transduction to determine the dynamics of cell-cell signaling during lineage commitment. The identity and behavior of different cell types will be determined by a combination of genein the words of a past intern): Intern #1- I'm responsible for the wet lab work, which has mostly been cell culture (feeding & passaging cells) and imaging (eosin staining, immunohistochemistry). My supervisor has now put me in charge of his various experiments: he instructs me on what to do at the beginning of the day and I spend the rest of the day doing it. This includes culturing and differentiating mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells and human embryonic stem cells, combining them into organoid bodies, sorting cells via fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), fixing cell aggregates in wax, sectioning and staining, and visualization via phase contrast and fluoresence microscopy.
Previous work experiences (in the words of a past IIP intern): I tried to differentiate pancreatic beta cells from human embryonic stem cells, using a protocol provided by someone who collaborates with the lab I was in. Every day, I also did tissue culturing to maintain a few stem cell lines. In addition, I have learned techniques that aren't related to my project but that are still very common and useful, including in situ hybridization of mouse and zebrafish embryo, and immunofluorescence...My postdoc was trying to compare the efficacies of two different differentiation protocols for taking stem cells to pancreatic beta cells. I carried out one of the differentiation protocols, while someone else in the lab is doing the other...Tangibly, I learned a number techniques, including tissue culturing, RT-qPCR, flow cytometry, in situ hybridization, and immunofluorescence, working with stem cells, and mouse and zebrafish embryo. More generally, I learned how long it takes to make progress in science and how often things can go wrong.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: AStar IMB|
Locations: Rome, Italy; Lima, Peru; Pokhara, Nepal
About: Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. Bioversity International delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. They work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation. Bioversity staff includes specialists in agriculture, forestry, information science and technology, socioeconomics, law and policy, finance and administration. Through the IIP internship program, Bioversity offers invaluable on-the-job training under the guidance of established experts in genetic resources, communications, and policy and law practices that encourage the production of public goods.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will be assigned to research projects and will learn to work as part of a project team. IIP interns will gain a broad understanding of issues in international agricultural research-for-development, particularly sustainable conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity for food and agriculture. IIP interns will typically gain experience in carrying out desk studies, literature searching, compilation and analysis of information, database work, writing reports and producing public awareness materials. For specific project listings, please review the regional listings for Bioversity in Italy, Peru and Nepal.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in economics, agriculture, ecological studies, public relations, journalism, environmental studies and international development are encouraged to apply. For the research position, skills in mathematics and statistical methods is required and knowledge of econometric modeling and programming skills would be an asset. For the communications position, skills in social media and research skills to develop stories would be an asset.
Bioversity Italy Intern #1
Bioversity Italy Intern #2
Bioversity Nepal Intern #1
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Bioversity Peru|
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Bioversity Nepal|
Center for Structural Biochemistry, University of Montpellier
Location: Montpellier, France
About: The general objective of the Center for Structural Biochemistry (CBS) is to carry out research at the forefront of structural biology and biophysics as a means to reveal the fundamental physical mechanisms underlying biological activity and its regulation and, where possible, to exploit this knowledge in the conception of new therapeutic strategies in human health and disease.
Intern Responsibilities: The selected IIP intern will be involved in one of the various research themes developed in the lab, but will be able to choose a research team and will be assigned a specific project to develop within this team.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interest in structural biology, biochemistry, and biophysics are encouraged to apply.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of the previous IIP intern): Intern #1-My supervisor was working on a project to cure Hepatitis C. He already had the basic idea of what kind of molecule he needed for the project, so two people pursuing a masters in chemistry and I worked together to produce molecules. Because there were only two hoods and because some steps of the reactions would need to go for a long time, some days were very busy while others were much slower. Much of the chemistry was similar to what students do in labs in Princeton classes: turning carboxylic acids into esters, creating urea, turning esters back into carboxylic acids and adding amines. However, the chemicals were more powerful and the molecules themselves were much bigger and more complex. Intern #2- My work responsibilities involve inducing bacteria to produce protein (my project specifically involves nuclear receptors - either PXR or PPAR) and then purifying and crystallizing the protein in complex with a variety of ligands. Then, using x-ray crystallography techniques, the structures of the proteins bound to different ligands can be solved.
View PowerPoint presentations by past interns:
CBS Intern #1
CBS Intern #2
CBS Intern #3
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Center for Structural Biochemistry, University of Montpelier|
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
About: Founded in 2004, the Champalimaud Foundation (CF) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to making advances in biomedical science. The core focus of the Foundation is to achieve breakthroughs in neuroscience and cancer research. Champalimaud Research (CR) started with the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (CNP), created in 2007, as a basic research team with the broad aim of understanding brain function through integrative biological approaches. Currently, the Neuroscience team is composed of 17 main research groups, plus research associates and adjunct investigators, who study diverse topics in neuroscience using advanced, cutting edge techniques. Research groups apply advanced molecular, physiological and imaging tools to elucidate the function of neural circuits and systems in animal models that include Drosophila, mouse, rat and zebrafish. In 2014, the Champalimaud Foundation established the Programme on Biology of Systems and Metastasis (BSM) on an organismic approach to investigate the biology of cancer and metastasis. The BSM team currently comprises 4 main research groups.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will be responsible for designing their own project with the PI in one of the following five laboratories:
- Champalimaud Clinical Center - The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown also houses the Champalimaud Clinical Centre (CCC), an advanced centre for science, medicine and technology that comprises a clinical facility for both research and treatment of disease. The core mission of the CCC is to offer premier clinical services, including early diagnosis, treatment, counselling and follow-up, as it strives to define new standards of patient care via specialized disease management teams, which meet regularly to decide on the best line of action for each patient. In addition to the advanced programmes in oncologic care, the CCC also offers treatment for neuropsychiatric diseases, supported by focused research programmes carried out at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme.
- Nuclear Medicine Clinical Unit - There are 4 Nuclear Medicine Physicians (specialists) The entire range of Nuclear Medicine diagnostic procedures is performed using commercially available radiopharmaceuticals for Gamma Camera Imaging and for Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The range of procedures includes surgical and interventional radiology activities, namely SNL (Sentinel Lymph Node) localization and metabolically abnormal lymph node mapping. In addition to diagnostic procedures, the Nuclear Medicine service is also performing therapeutic interventions with the entire range of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals (single photon emitters, beta minus emitters and alpha emitters) commercially available on an outpatient basis. It is our purpose to implement the most demanding quality protocols and to develop a close relation with universities and industry to create a top-notch local group for research and experimentation in this field.
- Colorectal Surgery - The Champalimaud Foundation's Colorectal Surgery is part of the Digestive Diseases Department and its main focus is colorectal cancer treatment. This team is composed of 3 portuguese colorectal surgeons, working in tight collaboration with 3 other international experts: Prof R.J. “Bill” Heald (Chairman of the Colorectal Surgery), Prof Amjad Parvaiz (Coordinator of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery), and Prof Geerard Beets (Head of Surgical Oncology). This Unit offers from state-of-the-art minimally invasive colorectal surgery (robotic and laparoscopic) to extreme resections of recurrence and peritoneal malignancy, accompanied with HIPEC. Another key area under the responsibility of our Unit is Non-Operative Management of Rectal Cancer, started in 2013. Currently, many different treatment strategies are being used to treat patients with rectal cancer. A selection of patients will undergo primary radiotherapy chemotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Often, this treatment is followed by surgery, usually with a temporary ostomy and in about one third of the patients a permanent colostomy.
- Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in neuroscience, health, medicine and cancer research are encouraged to apply. Experience at a clinic or in a laboratory would be an asset.
Previous work responsibilities in the words of a past IIP intern: I worked on a behavioral experiment: running mice through flipping task for three weeks. I was also helping with surgeries. In addition, I conducted on data analysis and prepared a presentation. I also helped my supervisors firm up their procedures and methods.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
About: Galp is an integrated energy company that finds and extracts oil and natural gas from sites across four continents to deliver energy to millions of customers every day. Its primary mission is to create value for its shareholders, with a portfolio of assets with a unique growth profile within the industry, based on ethically sound and transparent principles.
Galp is Portugal’s oil and natural gas integrated operator. Therefore, Galp's activities span from exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and marketing oil products, natural gas marketing and sales, and power generation. Galp has three main business areas:
- Exploration and Production - Galp is currently focused on the development of its upstream projects, especially following the world-class oil and gas discoveries in the pre-salt Santos basin in Brazil and in the Rovuma basin in Mozambique. The E&P business is anchored in these two countries alongside Angola, although Galp’s diversified portfolio spans across seven countries and over 50 E&P projects. Galp is expected to deliver production growth that is unparalleled in the industry based on discoveries already made, with the E&P business being the company’s current primary growth driver.
- Refining & Marketing - Galp is a leading player in Iberia, operating across refining, distribution and oil marketing activities. It operates an integrated refining system comprising two refineries in Portugal with a total processing capacity of 330 thousand barrels of oil per day and a distribution network in Iberia including approximately 1,300 service stations. While the Refining & Marketing business is centered in Iberia, the company continues to expand its marketing of oil products activity in selected markets in Africa.
- Gas&Power - Through its Gas & Power business, Galp distributes and supplies natural gas both in Iberia and in the broader international market, where it has been consolidating the trading activity. In Iberia, where Galp is a relevant player, it has also been consolidating the power business in order to increase integration. Galp is currently the only Iberian operator with a triple offering of oil products, natural gas and electricity.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on projects in one or more of the business areas noted above. IIP interns may also be involved in planning and control activities and/or new asset appraisal.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in the oil and gas industry (particularly exploration and production business), marketing, engineering, economics, and finance are encouraged to apply. Basic Portuguese and/or Spanish skills are required.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here:
INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale)
Location: Paris, France
About: INSERM is the French national research institute in the hospital of Kremlin-Bicetre, one of the oldest hospitals in Paris. Its laboratory specializes in the field of hemostasis and thrombosis and its research focuses on hemorrhagic disorders such as hemophilia. State-of-the-art technologies are available. For IIP candidates interested in exploring a scientific or medical career, this is a perfect opportunity to get a hands-on experience in an internationally recognized research unit, as well as getting to know a different culture.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will learn the techniques used in the laboratory and then contribute to specific projects in the research areas mentioned above, by performing bibliographic searches on the project and experimental work, and by analyzing the data and drawing conclusions about the subsequent experiments. Examples of potential projects include: setting up new assays to measure protein or activity levels of coagulation factors and/or selecting novel antibodies via phage-display techniques.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in cell or molecular biology, biochemistry, or medical studies are encouraged to apply. Basic French would be an asset.
Previous work experiences (in the words of the past IIP interns): Intern #1: HPLC purification of von Willebrand factor; weekly meeting with PI; read literature. Intern #2: I worked directly with a lab technician to artificially generate the blood clotting element Human Factor X. The goal of my project was to optimize proper side chain formation of a particular domain on the protein itself. (increasing the degree of gamma carboxylation on the Gla domain of the unmodified profactor.) Work responsibilities included laboratory manipulations and reading supplementary materials. I learned a lot about the research project design process. In addition to this, I definitely gained a deeper awareness and appreciation for cultural differences in the workplace as well as interactions between colleagues.
View a powerpoint from a past intern:
INSERM Intern #1
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: INSERM|
Newcastle University, Institute of Neuroscience
Location: New Castle, England
About: The Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Newcastle works in the novel field of connectomics and authored the first review in this area. The core mission of the Institute of Neuroscience is to undertake the highest quality research in neuroscience that translates into patient benefit, real world application and commercial opportunity. They aim to develop vibrant and productive interactions between researchers within their Institute, with other Faculty of Medical Sciences research institutes, and with external groups, aligning with the New Castle University’s core mission of ‘Excellence with a Purpose.' Their research is grouped into four broad research themes: Neural Systems and Applied Neurophysiology; Mitochondrial Disorders; Developmental, Behavioral and Comparative Neuroscience; and Neurodegenerative, Cerebrovascular & Psychiatric Disorders.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on one of the following projects:
- PROJECT 1: Development and testing of psychophysical tasks to assess auditory cognition 1: tests of auditory figure ground analysis. Would involve stimulus design, psychophysics and opportunities to see experimental imaging work and neurophysiology on both primates and humans.
Please see these links for descriptions of work in the lab
- PROJECT 2: Development and testing of psychophysical tasks to assess auditory cognition 2: tests of auditory working memory. Would involve stimulus design, psychophysics and opportunities to see experimental imaging work and neurophysiology on both primates and humans.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in neuroscience, psychology, life sciences, and/or computer science are encouraged to apply. Skills in histology/staining/western blotting or programming such as MATLAB, statistical skills or knowledge of statistics would be an asset.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of the previous IIP intern): Intern #1: I worked on the assigned research project (usually coding in MATLAB); attended weekly lab meetings; prepared final reports. Intern# 2: Built a database for epilepsy patient data as a medical aid for clinicians to extract features from recordings and search for similar recordings based on comparison of features or metadata. The project involved designing the system and programming all the different pieces of the puzzle. A significant portion of the programming was done in MATLAB for extracting particular features for EEG recordings and MySQL was used for designing the database. I also used Perl and HTML to build a web application that interfaced with MATLAB and the database. Intern #3: I worked on implementing and running trials on a paradigm that tests human perception of spectral flux. Spectral flux is an element of timbre, a broad classification of auditory qualities that distinguish sounds from one another based on properties other than pitch and volume. Understanding human perception of spectral flux will increase our understanding of how humans distinguish auditory objects, for example how one voice can be heard from a sea of background noise..I was also responsible for updating the script I wrote to run the trial as we determined changes that should be made and came up with the practice paradigm that made the trial feasible for participants in under an hour. The paradigm I developed will also be used for macaque subjects. My other coding project was to properly modulate the stimuli for another trial so that they could be more easily used in a clinical setting...I was introduced to a number of interesting fields through talks I have been to at the Institute, for example retinal prosthetics, and I learned about primate research and toured the primate facilities. I taught my colleagues about programming which improved my communication skills. Finally, I learned a lot about MATLAB and writing clear, effective code that can be used by others. This was my first experience writing code outside of a COS class so I have been getting to apply a lot of the skills I learned in class to actual projects. Intern #4: I did a behavioral taste assay with bumblebees where I measured their consumption in response to different concentrations of KCl, Quinine, and Sucrose. Additionally, the speed of retraction of the proboscis, wing size, thorax size, and other measurements were recorded and plotted. MY next project was something more directly related to neuroscience. My supervisor and I gathered recordings from the muscle that controls the glossa of the bumblebee and then we sorted and analyzed the spikes. I learned skills in electrophysiology in addition to data analysis and collection. Intern #5: My project involved mining a large data set of data from experiments involving recordings of neurons in monkeys' visual cortex from the past 15 or 20 years. The main goal of my project was to test a theory predicting a certain correlation between receptive field size and the type of visual neurons I was looking at. What I did was mine the data set in order to test the validity of these predictions. A secondary goal to my placement was to have me create a write up to help others more easily navigate and access the data I am working with in the future. As far as the project goes, I learned quite a bit about the biology and the theory behind vision, specifically disparity and stereoscopic or 3D vision. Even though I worked in a dry lab and mostly programming, I still had to read a bunch of more biologically based papers in order to be able to better understand what exactly I was looking for. Even though I could have just blindly done the data analytics I found it both fulfilling and helpful to learn more about the data I was studying. On a more general side, I learned what it is like to work in a lab, and go to lab meetings. Even though I am the only person working specifically on my project, the lab meeting still made me feel like part of the team. It let me interact with professionals in the field on a peer to peer level.
View a Powerpoint presentation by a past IIP intern:
Newcastle University Intern #1
Newcastle University Intern #2
Newcastle University Intern #3
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: New Castle University|
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
About: NRG Solutions is a renewable energy start-up looking for ways to empower people in Cambodia with clean energy solutions. NRG has two main areas of focus: They are starting to build a national distribution network for clean energy products and developing efficient appliances to reduce energy poverty in rural Cambodia and improve people’s lives by providing appropriate solutions. They also have an engineering team that tailors larger rooftop solutions to both urban and rural customers throughout the country. NRG has installed thirteen rooftop systems ranging from 300W-4KW, mostly in schools, clinics, hospitals, private homes, and other small businesses.
Intern responsibilities: IIP Interns will be contribute to the work of the IT team or the policy team.
IT Department IIP intern responsibilities:
- Building upon the work of previous IT interns and staff, this internship involves working with our existing management information system to add more functionality and allow us to use our date to improve quality of service. The intern's work will allow managers to assess trends and improve strategy.
- Part of this project will help develop a mobile user interface that will allow sales and technical teams to interact with the system while in the field. This will improve the amount and quality of data we can collect and help the teams with their day to day work. This position will work directly with both management and field staff to assess needs. Then, it will work independently to develop, test, and provide training to relevant stakeholders.
Policy Department IIP intern responsibilities:
- The intern would be a liaison between NRG Solutions and the Solar Energy Association of Cambodia. The intern would write papers that contribute to negotiating with the government to implement and improve policy that improves access to energy for millions of Cambodian families that do not have electricity. The position involves research, organizing meetings with members of the Association and other stakeholders, and writing and presenting proposals for better policy.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: I researched existing published policy on access to energy in Cambodia; Met with different levels of government to get updated information on policy and updates on implementation of policy and projects. Met with local and multinational organizations to understand challenges in current policy, and changes. Analyzed government structures and policy to advise on best ways for the private sector can have a larger say in the development of new policies and to create public-private partnerships to help with the implementation of this policy...I learned a great deal in a very short time given the unique nature of the startup. From my project, I learned how to conduct research in a foreign country (which is not as easy as going to Firestone), how to connect with government officials and how to understand the challenges and changes in renewable energy policy in a developing country. I think most of my learning has come in the form of interacting with colleagues/my supervisor in the office, with regard to how a startup or any business operates and how to delegate responsibilities and accomplish goals. Intern #2: I developed an app for the sales team here. It is for use during initial client visits, so that the team can record data efficiently, and give an immediate price estimate to the client. This will save the team the two weeks it takes them now to generate a quote from a handwritten report, both saving the team time and presenting a more professional service for the client. I advised NRG on choosing a client relations and sales management software to streamline their business processes. This involved comparing existing software in terms of price and functionality to help decide what best fits NRG's current and future needs. More importantly, I worked with NRG's head of business development to chart in detail the workflow and organizational structure of the business...I learned technical skills through building the app for NRG (this isn't really something Princeton teaches). I also learned a lot about the culture of a startup, and the dedication that it takes to make something truly great with limited financial resources...Culturally, I learned to be more patient: patient with my surroundings, because things don't always run entirely smoothly here, and patient with myself, because for as much as I'm learning, there's always more to learn. Intern #3: I was assigned a few projects: One potential project that I worked on aimed to replace the diesel generators in ten battery charging stations in rural communities. It was an application based process in which the project would be partially subsidized. However, the deadline was too soon and we weren't hearing back from our suppliers that we could not follow through with the project. In the end, I summarized our findings and design decisions in a report should the company pursue a similar type of project in the future. Then, I was assigned a new project - an off-grid solar system for a mobile container office. I presented the design in an initial proposal for this project. I also prepared energy consumption profiles. My next project was focusing on helping prevent overuse in the solar home kits. I tested batteries to find a correlation between voltage readings and state of charge/hours of use, and figured out which parameters of the charge controller to program in order to prevent overconsumption. Doing so would extend the life of these solar kits by several years and prevent customers from demanding replacement kits back when we had no way to prove that they were overusing it and killing the batteries. As a result, the new solar kits that they sell will provide a much more sustainable solution…Through these projects I learned a ton about how to properly size solar systems and significantly improved my skills in Excel. Intern #4: I was a business development intern. I worked to improve NRG's business operations/implement PAYG technology. I learned a lot about emerging solar technologies/business models and wrote a report on it.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: NRG Solutions|
Pasteur Institute, Department of Cell Biology and Infection
Location: Paris, France
About: Since its creation in 1887, the Institut Pasteur has become famous throughout the world as a symbol of science and French culture. For 120 years, its foundation has contributed to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases through research, teaching, and public health initiatives. The Institute enjoys an independent status and has numerous other assets, with its research laboratories, technological platforms, teaching center, and medical center all located on one campus in the heart of Paris.
Intern Responsibilities: The laboratory in which the IIP intern will be placed is interested in deciphering the molecular and cellular mechanisms of bacterial invasion of host cells. The host laboratory has developed several novel approaches to investigate the intimate interactions between the host and invading pathogens in single cells in space and in real time developing novel microscopic techniques. They employ their innovative, single-cell based, microscopic approaches to elucidate the apparent contradictory effects of multiple secreted effector proteins processes. The IIP intern will participate full-time in this ongoing research project in molecular genetics.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: I worked on a project studying the immunological effects of mutant Shigella bacteria on the infected and bystander human cells during infection. Intern #2: I conducted a series of small projects whose aims are as follow:1.To identify and characterize large vacuole structures in infected CHIKV cells. 2.To live image cells transfected with labeled CHIKV to deduce the functionality of the virus' capsid after subjection to such modifications. 3.To measure the RNA levels of specific genes in CHIKV infected fibroblast cells to determine the role of fibroblasts in activating the Th17 pathway...I learned how to do specific scientific techniques, how to design experiments and how to read scientific literature. Intern #2: My supervisor worked on a project to elucidate the first steps of Shigella infection into epithelial cells by using a quasi-physiological in vitro model that simulates two types of cells (M cells and enterocytes) in the intestine. Two projects that we were working on are finding a good immunofluorescence marker to characterize M cells and transducing cells with fluorescent actin to mark their cytoskeleton and visualize bacterial entry. Day-to-day responsibilities included maintaining cells, culturing bacteria, infecting cells, fixing and staining cells, and acquiring images using microscopes...I felt that I have learned a great deal from this internship. Firstly, techniques—I have never worked with eukaryotic cells or transwells, performed infections, done immunofluorescence staining, or used these kinds of microscopes. Secondly, I learned about lab dynamics and the atmosphere in a research institution. Third, I gained insight on different parts of an academic career since we have master's students, doctoral students, postdocs, and our PI in the lab. Fourth, I learned something about confidence in this kind of work and what kinds of setbacks to expect. Intern #3: My supervisor worked on a project to elucidate the first steps of Shigella infection into epithelial cells by using a quasi-physiological in vitro model that simulates two types of cells (M cells and enterocytes) in the intestine. Two projects that we were working on are finding a good immunofluorescence marker to characterize M cells and transducing cells with fluorescent actin to mark their cytoskeleton and visualize bacterial entry. Day-to-day responsibilities included maintaining cells, culturing bacteria, infecting cells, fixing and staining cells, and acquiring images using microscopes. I felt that I learned a great deal from this internship. Firstly, techniques—I had never worked with eukaryotic cells or transwells, performed infections, done immunofluorescence staining, or used these kinds of microscopes. Secondly, I learned about lab dynamics and the atmosphere in a research institution. Third, I gained insight on different parts of an academic career since we have master's students, doctoral students, postdocs, and our PI in the lab. Fourth, I think I have learned something about confidence in this kind of work and what kinds of setbacks to expect.
View PowerPoint presentations by a past interns:
Pasteur Institute Intern #1
Pasteur Institute Intern #2
Pasteur Institute Intern #3
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Pasteur Institute, Department of Microbiology|
Semmelweis University Medical School
Location: Budapest, Hungary
About: Founded in 1769, Semmelweis University, Hungary’s oldest medical school offers courses in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, health sciences, health management, as well as physical education and sport sciences. This University is widely recognized as one of Europe’s leading centers of medicine and health sciences, combining innovation and a time-tested tradition in three main areas: education, research, and health care. It is one of the largest health care institutions in Hungary, covering approximately six percent of the nation’s health care needs.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP internships at the University Medical School provide access to different laboratories at the university to learn about ongoing research, help in the experiments and carry out mini-projects, such as data collection and/or analysis, literature search, help in drafting scientific papers. Interns will be matched with professors and researchers (mentors), based on their interest and availability of mentors. It is anticipated that the interns can spend time in at least four different labs on their interest. Research areas available for this IIP internship include, but not limited to biology, biophysics, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, pathophysiology, anatomy, nanomedicine. After successful completion of the program, students will be awarded a dedicated certificate of achievement.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in biology and/or basic medical sciences are encouraged to apply.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern#1: Read laboratory research articles; Helped analyze experimental data; Ran trials for liposomal characterization experiment; Learned to use atomic force microscopy technology. Intern #2: The main project I am working on deals with fibrin which is a protein involved in blood clotting. We saw how fibrin forms under different conditions, varying the concentrations of calcium and sodium. I learned to take AFM images using a machine called a Cypher to look closely at how the fibrin had formed. I also performed a gel electrophoresis on fibrin and other proteins that are a part of the blood clotting process, like factor VIII. I also worked on minor projects like sub culturing cells and performing PCR reactions. Intern #3: Using nanotechnology to stretch the protein titin, both full length titin and some single domains of titin, in order to study the structure of the protein and the forces needed to unfold it's structure. I have also assisted with a smaller project measuring the viscoelasticity of the protein fibrin as it forms blood clots. In addition, I worked on Next Generation Sequencing: creating genomic libraries of DNA samples using PCR. Intern #4: We studied predominantly the effect of temperature on cochleate formation, but also studied best practices for formation and disintegration. Day to day, we performed various experiments and record the data to hopefully come to some conclusions about the properties of cochleate. The goal of the research is to one day understand cochleate well enough to utilize them as drug delivery devices. I also spent a week in Miskolc shadowing a lab that analyzes genetic information, and, I was able to assist and shadow different colleagues at Semmelweis University from the Nanomedical Department to the Pediatric clinic. Intern #5: Worked alternatively on several different projects with different researchers - including the von Willebrand factor (involved in blood clotting) and its affinity for bonding with collagen at different concentrations, using optic tweezers to observe the structural mechanics of titin (a large muscle protein in the body), and qualitatively analyzing kidneys with varying levels of fibrosis in experimental rat populations. I worked on different projects on different days so there's a lot of variety in what I'm learning. I ran a lot of basic lab procedures that I learned in basic science classes at Princeton, and for the procedures I hadn't learned yet, the researchers guided me through how to do them and then let me do them independently. I learned a lot more about physics and biophysics than I thought I would, since many of the projects are at the very interesting biophysics institute close to the main building, but I found these projects fascinating (particularly the optic tweezers project, which involves stabilizing one end of the protein in with a laser and designing flow cells to attach the protein to the right place, as well as deeply familiarizing myself with the atomic force microscope on several different projects).
View a PowerPoint presentations by past IIP interns:
Semmelweis University Intern #1
Semmelweis University Intern #2
Semmelweis University Intern #3
Semmelweis University Intern #4
Semmelweis University Intern #5
Semmelweis University Intern #6
Semmelweis University Intern #7
This internship is offered in partnership with the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and can be used by GHP juniors for completion of the GHP Summer Research Requirement (please check the appropriate box on your application).
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Semmelweis University|
Tsinghua University, Department of Precision Instrumentation and Mechanology
Location: Beijing, China
About: The Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology (DPIM) originated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Tsinghua University, which was founded in 1932. The department is one of the earliest engineering discipline departments in China, mainly engaged in talent cultivation and scientific research in the field of advanced manufacturing, including Mechanical Engineering, Optical Engineering, and Instrument Science and Technology. Upholding Tsinghua University’s mission to “cultivate talents with a sound character of state and social services,” the DPIM always treats talent cultivation as its primary task, with the aim of cultivating outstanding “research, managerial, innovative, international” personnel in advanced manufacturing who master the trends of the times and pursue academic excellence.
Intern responsibilities: The IIP placement is within the Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology and will focus on one of the following two projects:
- Observation on the velocity profile of blood flow in microchannel using micro-PIV system-The motion of the red blood cells (RBC) in microvascular is strongly dependent on time, flow and geometries, and the microfluidics provide a good platform to study the blood flow in complex geometries. In this study, a T-junction microchannel is to be designed and fabricated based on soft lithograph technology, to observe the red blood cells (RBC) motion in the daughter branches. The velocity profiles of the blood flow is to be measured by the micro-PIV system using the RBCs as tracers, and the effect of the size ratio of the daughter branches on the motion of the RBCs is to be investigated.
- Observation of the cavitation in a small glass venturi channel- The cavitating flow through a converging-diverging nozzle has important impacts on the engineering pipe flow and biomedical heart valves. To understand the cavitation of the liquid in small channels, a glass venturi shaped channel with the characteristic length of milllimeter is to be designed and fabricated. Using this device, the cavitation phenomenon is to be observed by a fast camera under the controlled driven pressures. Then the cavitation number and the effect of the liquid-solid interface are to be investigated.The IIP intern will participate in the experimental research related to microfluidic systems, and he/she will be responsible for the design and the proceeding of the experimental work.
Qualifications: This placement is ideal for candidates with interests in Mechanical Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Bio Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. Experience and/or skills in technical drawing and common computer software, and basic experimental skills would be an asset.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of a past IIP intern): Researched pulsatile flow and steady flow of red blood cells in a bifurcating microchannel and their clotting effects. This included designing the experimental setup, acquiring the necessary equipment and blood, fabricating microdevices, and running experiments.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: Tsinghua University|
University of Edinburgh, School of Chemistry
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
About: The School of Chemistry (SoC) is part of EaStCHEM, the joint Chemistry Research School of the University of Edinburgh and St. Andrews University. EaStCHEM scored highest in the U.K. in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (meaning that its research is ranked highest in the country). Within the SoC, there is research being carried out in a wide variety of areas and the primary research area is in measuring and understanding redox potential in cells.
Intern Responsibilities: may include designing or synthesizing a new reporter that can be used to study redox processes in cells or using systems biology and computational approaches to interpret and model redox processes in cells. This is an extremely interdisciplinary area where a keen interest in biology/medicine is required as well as an understanding of chemistry. In previous years IIP interns have been responsible for designing and synthesizing new reporters that can be used to study redox processes in cells; using systems biology and computational approaches to interpret and model redox processes in cells; developing new MALDI imaging techniques to image distributions of metabolites in cells and tissues; or developing new catalytic strategies for cheap and environmentally friendly synthesis.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in chemistry, biology, or electrochemistry are encouraged to apply and should be comfortable working in an organic chemistry lab. Experience working in an organic chemistry lab would be an asset.
Previous work experiences (in the words of previous IIP interns): Intern #1: Determined optimal reaction conditions for iron catalysis of nitroarenes. Intern #2: Prepared mouse brain and kidney samples for MALDI imaging, ran MALDI imaging on samples, analyzed data to see how oxidized and reduced lipids were distributed over tissue samples. Intern #3: Two primary responsibilities: created a mapping of redox-dependent pathways in a cancer cell (involved mostly literature research) and developed nanoshell-based intracellular pH sensors. Intern #4: I conducted tissue culture and growing tumor spheroids and learned how to section to run them on MALDI mass spec...Intern #5: I conducted experiments attempting to regrow nacre, an organic-inorganic composite material found in mollusk shells. This study was motivated by the fact nacre is 3000 times as strong as the material used to make it, namely calcium carbonate. I also studied the mechanism of crystal growth and nucleation on the organic layer of nacre with various imaging techniques...Firstly, I have learned a lot about biomineralization. I have also learned how to do design and organize experiments in a real life lab setting, and have become familiar with many lab techniques...I acquired a lot of data regarding my project, and I essentially started this specific project. Intern #6: I operated a Renishaw Raman spectrometer and used it to carry out two different projects. The first was a time interval comparison of Neutrophil uptake of gold nanoshells, and the other project was a phenotypic comparison of normal Neutrophils vs. apoptotic Neutrophils...From my projects, I learned about spectroscopy analysis and the Chemistry of Neutrophils.
View Powerpoint presentations of past IIP interns:
University of Edinburgh Intern #1
University of Edinburgh Intern #2
University of Edinburgh Intern #3
University of Edinburgh Intern #4
University of Edinburgh Intern #5
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: University of Edinburgh, School of Chemistry|
University of Oxford, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine
Location: Oxford, England
About:The MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) at the University of Oxford is one of the world’s premier institutes where basic research in cell and molecular biology is applied to the improvement of human health. Located next to the John Radcliffe Hospital, clinician/scientists and basic researchers work hand in hand with clinicians in the hospital to tackle both rare and common diseases. The WIMM incorporates programs on blood diseases and stem cell disorders (leukemia, lymphoma, and thalassaemia); immunological disorders (HIV AIDS, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and eczema); cancer (bowel and breast); infectious disease (malaria); and a wide range of genetic diseases, including abnormalities of facial development and disorders of the neuromuscular junction.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will join in the basic and medical research being undertaken at the WIMM providing an introduction to the new revolution in molecular medicine.
Qualifications: Previous laboratory experience and experience working with datasets would be an asset but is not required.
Previous work experiences (in the words of previous IIP interns): Intern #1: I worked on a project to create a circular RNA to serve as a microRNA sponge with a graduate student. He would help plan the experiments and tell me what needed to be done, but I was responsible for carrying out all of the experiments. I used a variety of different lab techniques, including cloning, tissue culture/transfection, and FACS. At the end of my time, I presented my data in a lab meeting. Intern #2: I conducted flow cytometry experiments to characterize surface. Intern #3: I worked on stem cell differentiation. This project focused mostly on immunofluorescence on E10.5-E11.5 mouse embryos and I examined the stainings using a confocal microscope...I learned mostly techniques and what the day to day work in the lab is like. Intern #4: I worked in an immunology lab that is interested in understanding the structural basis of T-cell recognition and activation. My own project aimed to elucidate what happens at the molecular level when a T-cell is triggered by a superagonist antibody that has been bound to Fc receptors immobilized in a lipid bilayer. To do this, I had to first make four different constructs of Fc receptors. My responsibilities included cloning Fc receptor genes with PCRs, ligations, transformations, and mini-preps; expressing proteins through lentiviral transfections and infections; and purifying the protein of interest with a column of nickel beads. Then, with the purified Fc receptors, I went to a collaborator's lab at the University of Cambridge to do single molecule experiments with super resolution microscopy. These experiments involved putting the Fc receptors into a lipid bilayer, binding to them superagonist and conventional antibodies, and dropping T-cells onto this configuration. The laser microscopes then show what happens to fluorescently labeled molecules as the the T-cells are being activated...I learned a lot of laboratory techniques in the field of molecular biology research. I have been taught to do gene cloning, protein expression, protein purification, and assembly of a lipid bilayer. I also learned about the basic theory of T-cell activation through the kinetic-segregation model and the proposed effects of superagonist antibodies. This experience has also taught me about the daily life of a researcher, a post-doc, a PhD student, and a PI. Intern # 5: I identified gene regulatory elements in the neural crest. This meant I did a lot of enhancer cloning. I also worked with chicken embryos...I learned the way science interacts with medicine, the way rigorous research is conducted, the way collaboration works within the lab. It's been a very rewarding experience.
View PowerPoint presentations by past IIP interns:
MRC Weatherall Intern #1
MRC Weatherall Intern #2
MRC Weatherall Intern #3
MRC Weatherall Intern #4
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: University of Oxford, Weatherall Institute|
University of Queensland, Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB)
Location: Queensland, Australia
About: The Institute for Molecular Bioscience's mission is to decipher the information contained in the genes, proteins, and molecules of humans, animals, and plants. Since its establishment in 2000, the IMB has earned a reputation as one of the Asia Pacific region's leading research institutes. By understanding the development process and aspects that go awry in complex diseases, IMB aims to develop pharmaceutical and cellular therapies, technologies, and diagnostics to prevent or treat such diseases.
Intern responsibilities: The IIP intern will contribute to the work of the research institute for one of the following projects:
- Project 1 - Dual action Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics: Working as part of an international multidisciplinary team in the field of synthetic medicinal chemistry the intern will synthesise novel members of an exciting compound series, targeting the NLRP3 signalling cascade, aimed at reducing levels of a potent pyrogen interleukin 1β. The aim is to create molecular hybrid molecules which not only reduce inflammation but simultaneously treat disease. Such molecules have significant utility in many areas including asthma, type 2 diabetes and also in disorders of the brain, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. There is a unique opportunity to learn and develop synthetic, purification and analytical skills contributing to our series for future patent and/or publication and the intern will be included on this as deemed appropriate to the work conducted. The student can expect to complete their project with an excellent understanding of the structure activity/property relationships within the series and the underlying biology of the disease area.
- Project 2 - Antibiotic discovery: The CooperGroup at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience has a strong interest in the discovery and development of new antimicrobial agents. We have several ongoing projects at various stages of maturity, from early discovery through to hit-to-lead, lead optimization and pre-clinical development. Each project is unique in terms of targeted organism and medicinal chemistry focus. The intern will have the opportunity to understand the unique challenges of antibiotic discovery and development in a globally recognized research group, and contribute to a high impact research area. In particular, the IIP intern can expect to gain first-hand experience as an independent researcher in a medicinal chemistry setting, learning how to perform reactions and monitor their progress, and how to isolate and characterize their target molecules. Importantly, projects are designed to challenge the intern, and will NOT involve routine repetitive analysis. As such, it will require the intern to think beyond the usual “laboratory practical manual”, where an analytical mind and attention to detail is an asset for identifying and overcoming unforeseen difficulties. The intern will have a clear set objectives and will receive continual guidance during the course of the project.
- In addition to our discovery programs, the group has launched a not-for-profit, open access framework for the discovery of new antimicrobials known as CO-ADD (Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery). CO-ADD screens unique molecules hidden in academic compound collections from collaborators around the world in an attempt to identify novel starting points for antibiotic development. Part of this process involves resynthesizing hits and analogues of hits in order to assess their true potential. Projects in CO-ADD are ongoing and make ideal student projects; the intern will have the option of participating if he or she desires.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with experience in synthetic organic chemistry and an interest in therapeutics are encouraged to apply. Laboratory experience, particularly organic synthesis work, is required.
Previous work responsibilities (in words of past interns): Intern #1: My project began with an organic synthesis. I was responsible for finding information regarding potential synthetic methods and carrying out the synthesis itself. Intern #2: I synthesized a library of organic compounds to be tested as potential inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (an enzyme) inhibitors. Previous studies have shown that targeting this enzyme may be an effective path toward eliminating Cryptococcus neoformans (a fungus) infection in immunocompromised individuals...I am learning much about organic chemistry. I have been introduced to a wide array of reagents and solvents, reaction techniques, and characterization and purification techniques. Intern #3: My work responsibilities are centered around a project that aims at synthesizing and, thereby, finding new antibiotics. One molecule in a vast library of molecules was found to have favorable antimicrobial properties against gram-positive bacteria (and one form of harmful fungi). My job was to create analogs of this compound using organic chemistry to do so in order that these analogs can be tested to see if they have enhanced activity against harmful bacterial...I learned all about chemistry lab procedure and how to handle independent research...I created a couple of compounds that are analogs of one that has antibacterial properties. These analogs will then be tested against the bacteria again to see if there is a change in antibiotic capability. If so, then IMB may allocate additional funding and research to creating analogs of that compound and mass-producing it for testing. Intern #4: I synthesized molecules that are variants of a known molecule that has antibacterial properties, as part of the new CO-ADD program...The organic synthesis I did could lead to the creation of a new drug (fingers-crossed), and subsequently greater publicity and funding for CO-ADD...Working in a lab was a very good refresher on organic chemistry and on lab techniques. I have learned how to use chemistry machinery, which I think will be good preparation for the fall, when I have to take Experimental Chemistry.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017, click here: University of Queensland, Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB)|
University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters Institute of Complex System
Location: South Bohemia, Czech Republic
About: This project is part of the Biological Engineering Group in the Institute of Physical Biology. Brief background on the Group's main project: Frontiers of biology lie now in exact evaluation of biological processes, whether the field is called Systems Biology, Biological Engineering, or another name. There is currently discrepancy between processes observed in living cells, for example by microscopy, and models that are based mainly on biochemical observations--that is, interactions of proteins and metabolites extracted from the cell culture and examined in the test tube. There are many examples of non-homogeneous behavior in cells that have essential functional meaning and may be crucial for discrimination between living and non-living matter. In contrast to the prevalent approach the Group examines the macroscopic properties of cells and uses a stochastic systems approach from control engineering for model building. For that a new mathematical method of point information contribution and point information entropy hsa been developed, which is implemented into software used for evaluation of processes in living cells.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns may choose from a few existing projects or projects that align with the intern’s own interests may be arranged. Projects will include work in one or more of the following areas:
- Reconstruction of the living cells using optical microscopy in transmitted light and atomic force microscopy- This project will help IIP interns become acquainted with such microscopy techniques like atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical microscopy. IIP interns will prepare on their own samples with lving cells for AFM imaging. Partakers will have an opportunity to work in the force spectroscopy mode in order to get information about mechanical properties and topology of different cell lines and to work with an optical microscope to obtain information on the cell interior. Also, the IIP intern will be introduced to image processing techniques based on information entropy approach. The aim of this project is to cultivate and fix cells, get images, perform image processing and reconstruction.
- Testing microscopes and algorithms developed at the ICS, tracking organelles- Their lab has developed an algorithm for 3D modelling and tracking of cell organelles and their images by an optical system of a transmission light microscope. The goal of this project is to develop and use 3D polygraphy for printing mass models of these organelles and their images by the microscope and find the trajectory of organelles' movement. The project aim is to develop a method of 3D polygraphy for printing mass models of cell organelles and draw the trajectories of moveable organelles.
- Fish school behavior in five information dimensions- Fish behavior is a prototype for behavior of higher organism. Upon their analysis, numerous extrapolations are made for fields as distant as robotics and human psychology.
Qualifications: Candidates should have an academic background in experimental or theoretical physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, informatics, or mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineering. Basic chemical or biological laboratory skills, teamwork skills and computer knowledge are recommended.
Previous work experiences (in the words of the past IIP interns): Intern #1: I tested and calibrated microscope equipment to determine its optimal functional limits; analyzed data from these tests using the lab's computational analysis protocols; and made a final poster and presentation. Intern #2: I worked on protein crystallization and atomic force microscopy (AFM) of living cells, particularly osteosarcoma cells, strain MG-62, and mice fibroblasts, strain L929. With protein crystallization, I prepared lysozyme crystals by trying out two different methods -- sitting drop and microseeding -- and successfully yielded crystals. I tried to find a way to adhere the crystals to the microscope slide so the sample does not move when it is being scanned. I contacted with a professor from NASA in order to figure out what materials he used so that I can replicate his experiment where he successfully held the protein in place. With atomic force microscopy, I was trained on using the machinery and how the images can be used to determine biochemical processes that are occurring within the cell. This can be used to determine whether or not a cell is at risk of certain diseases, especially cancer. I also learned to cultivate cells and immobilize them for scanning by AFM. I was trained in using the machinery and using it to take elasticity measurements of the cell. I used this information to determine which cells were most compatible with which substrate, which helped determine what material something should be made out of for permanent insertion into the body. In the end, I presented my project on a PowerPoint and created a poster for future displays.
View a PowerPoint presentation by a past intern:
University of South Bohemia Intern #1
University of South Bohemia Intern #2
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: University of South Bohemia, Institute for Physical Biology|
The University of Strathclyde, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
About: The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological University located in the heart of Glasgow. Their University is one of the UK’s top 20 research universities. The Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry was ranked 4th in the UK with 94% of its research rated as internationally excellent or internationally leading. They have one of the largest research schools in the UK, with expertise ranging from analytical chemistry to materials science, and from biological chemistry to organic and inorganic synthesis; and national and international collaborations are in place in all research areas.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on one or more of the following projects:
- Using Raman Spectroscopy as a Tool in the Fight to Cure Cancer- Unlike other cellular biomolecules, which are readily imaged using fluorescent labels, lipids are notoriously difficult to image effectively in cells. Recently we have developed new methods to image cellular lipid distribution using Raman spectroscopy in live cancer cells. This provides a vital tool, which we are using to address key areas in cancer biology. Metabolic aspects of cancer, such as lipid synthesis, have become significant targets for cancer therapy. Lipid synthesis is upregulated in cancer, and therefore, drugs that inhibit lipid synthesis have proven effective in targeting cancer cells. This project will involve learning a wide variety of practical skills from cell culture to Raman spectroscopy. You will image lipids in cancer cells using Raman spectroscopy and investigate how drugs targeting different aspects of lipid synthesis effect the lipid composition of these cells. You will also get the opportunity to learn about data processing and analysis techniques, with the option to develop new methods for extracting important information on lipid composition from the spectral data collected. Additionally we will investigate the use of labeled metabolites, which we will feed to cells and track using Raman spectroscopy, to give us new insight into lipid metabolism in cancer cells and selecting effective drugs for treatment. This is a very new area of research and this project offers great potential for generating results for publication.
- Scaffold Hopping Approaches to Novel Autotaxin Inhibitors- Autotaxin (ATX) is a ubiquitous ectoenzyme that hydrolyzes lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to form the bioactive lipid mediator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). LPA activates specific G-protein coupled receptors to elicit downstream effects leading to cellular motility, survival, and invasion. Through these pathways, upregulation of ATX is linked to a number of proliferative diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In their laboratories, we have developed a novel class of inhibitors, using a scaffold hopping approach based on the literature analogue PF-8380. This project will centre around the design, synthesis and biological testing of a new scaffolds designed as isosteric replacements of the PF-8380 piperazine core.
- Bioinspired Nanopores- This experimental project in (bio)materials science/chemistry will develop nanopores inspired by the nuclear pore complex (NPC) for controlling protein transport. NPCs are ~50 nm wide pores located on the nuclear envelop of all eukaryotic cells. They are the sole conduits for selecting specific proteins and polynucleotides for passage between the cell nucleus and the cytoplasm, while rejecting all the biomacromolecular species existing in the cellular milieu. NPC mimics will enable selective nanopores that have wide potential such as in the production of protein-based drugs and enzymes, in sensing of biomarkers, and encapsulating drugs for targeted delivery. To mimic NPCs, the research is studying how NPC function relies on the polymer-like, unfolded polypeptide chains observed to cover the inner pore surface of the pores. We will compare the feasibility of the two main hypotheses of NPC function—the polymer brush “virtual gating” model and the polymer hydrogel “selective phase” model. The student will work with the group to graft a model polymer structure onto a synthetic nanoporous membrane scaffold. The passage (diffusion) of proteins will be measured by a nanoporous waveguide optical technique. This is a challenging project requiring commitment and intellectual creativity. The student will have a chance to learn various techniques in surface chemistry, polymer science, and materials engineering. Depending on interest, the student’s research will focus on selected aspects of surface chemical functionalization, polymer grafting, protein assays, and/or surface measurement (e.g. waveguide sensing, SPR, ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy, water contact angle, etc.).
- Novel Iridium-Based Catalysts for Hydrogen Isotope Exchange and Reduction Processes- Transition metal-mediated hydrogen isotope exchange (HIE) is a technique of increasing importance, with a range of applications spanning all aspects of organic synthesis (1→2, Scheme 1). Importantly for medicinal chemists, such direct and flexible labelling processes now represent a central tool for the fast and efficient incorporation of a tracer into drug candidates, enabling various metabolic, stability, and toxicity studies to be performed earlier in the drug design process. Recent studies from their own laboratory have disclosed a series of highly active iridium(I) catalysts of the type 3, capable of delivering heavy isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) to aromatic molecules via an ortho-directed C-H insertion process. This suite of catalysts 3 consistently outperforms previous benchmark catalysts across a broad range of substrates, and, indeed, are able to label substrates, at low catalyst loading, where other Ir complexes fail completely even at stoichiometric levels. To date, we have shown that their catalysts are capable of efficiently mediating a range of labelling and reduction processes (Scheme 2). Labelling of aromatic systems is directed by a broad range of functional groups, including ketones, amides, esters, nitroarenes, and an array of N-heterocycles, all with high levels of D-incorporation under mild conditions. They have recently extended this work to include the labelling of non-aromatic unsaturated systems, and to the highly challenging aromatic primary sulfonamides. Catalysts 3 can also mediate the reduction of carbon-carbon double and triple bonds, with highly substituted alkenes being reduced in excellent yield, and tuneable conditions to reduce alkynes to either alkanes or (Z)-alkenes. In this project, the IIP intern will augment their range of catalysts 3 with novel NHC/phosphine-Ir complexes. The design of these complexes will be based on the demands of new, challenging substrates for the labelling and reduction processes in addition to other emerging applications for this family of catalysts in organic synthesis. As part of this programme, the IIP intern will gain experience of both organometallic chemistry and organic synthesis through the preparation of the iridium complexes and a spectrum of organic substrates, as well as via the central catalyzed labelling and reduction experiments, and post-labelling manipulations.
- Calculating physico-chemical properties of bioactive molecules from molecular theories of solvation- Experimental assays of physico-chemical properties (solubility, pKa, octanol-water partition coefficient, etc) are used in the pharmaceutical industry to identify candidate drug molecules that might be administered by the preferred oral route. However, such experiments are expensive, time-consuming and can only be applied to molecules that have already been synthesized. An alternative approach is to use computer simulations to calculate the properties of putative drug molecules prior to their synthesis. In collaboration with scientists at AstraZeneca in Sweden, they have recently developed several methods for predicting solvation thermodynamics parameters of bioactive molecules in view of potential applications in industry. One such method is based on a molecular theory of solutions, the Reference Interaction Site Model (RISM). The IIP intern will have the opportunity to be involved in large-scale computational screening of thermodynamic properties of drug-like molecules by these new methods. The project will provide research training in physical chemistry (including statistical mechanics and thermodynamics) and modern computational chemistry techniques (including molecular dynamics simulations and molecular integral equation theory).
Qualifications: IIP candidates must have a strong background in chemistry and interests in lab work. Skills in all the standard manipulations carried out in the chemistry laboratory, i.e. titration, distillation, measurement, etc. are highly recommended.