University of Dundee

Laura Grasso

I am originally from Italy and I am a first year PhD student in the Wellcome Trust Programme. I gained both my Bachelor and Masters degree in Biology in Messina.

In 2007, during my second year of Bsc degree, I started my experience in the laboratory of "Fundamental and Applied Microbiology and Virology" (MVFA) in the Department of Life Science “M. Malpighi” as junior laboratory assistant where I worked until July 2010.  The main objective of the research experience in the laboratory, converged in both my theses, was to investigate the Staphylococcus epidermidis adhesion and self-organization on a nonleaching surface, investigating the influence of interactions cells-surface and cells to cells on bacterial pattern. It was really complex work but it allowed me to gain my first publication.

During my studies I became very much interested in research and as such decided to start my PhD programme. I think that PhD is a very important and crucial step for a researcher so I decided to move abroad also becauseI really love meeting people from different countries, it broadens my mind, especially it allows me to appreciate different cultures and habits.

There are several topics in which I am interested in and I have to decide just one for my PhD thesis but surfing on internet I have seen the Wellcome Trust Programme and I thought it was perfect because it would give me the possibility to do three rotations in different labs. With this programme I can experience those labs and choose that one fits perfectly with my interest and my goals.

I have chosen Dundee since it is in the top ranking University for Life Science in Europe and it has a very stimulating environment with great facilities. I am sure it will be the best choice I could have made.

At the moment I am in the last week of my first rotation in the Rocha labin the Wellcome Trust centre for Gene Regulation and Expression. Focus of my research is the analysis of the HIF system, and determination of cell type specific responses to hypoxia. I am very happy about my first choice because I gained experience in immunofluorescence techniques and also flow cytometry, and I really enjoyed the lab. I found nice people always keen to help for everything I needed.