Our Center for Translational Medicine collaborates with Dr. Francesca Cavalieri from University of Melbourne.

Several our young researchers went for internships at Department of Chemical Engineering Melbourne School of Engineering, under her mentoring. Fabiana Martino visited Australia in 2016, Federico Tidu in 2017 and Petra Buřilová and Ece Ergir in 2018.

What did you do at UoM?
Federico: “I worked on developing a DNA probe (molecular beacon) for monitoring protein activity and localization in living cells. During my stay at the University of Melbourne I also had the opportunity to work with super resolution microscope, a cutting-edge technique which helped me in the progress of my doctoral thesis project.”
Fabiana: “I had the opportunity to use SIM (structured illumination microscopy) to analyze the localization of proteins in healthy and diseased heart tissue obtaining high resolution images, which helps me to track biomolecular dynamics. Moreover, I started a new project in which we used a FRET molecular beacon to monitor and quantify transcription factors in living cells.”
Petra: “I was able to continue with studies on interaction of glycogen nanoparticles with peripheral blood immune cells, a project we are collaborating on with Dr. Francesca Cavalieri and PhD candidate Marcin Wojnilowicz at UoM. For the purpose of these studies, I was able to work with state-of the-art techniques, such as Imaging flow cytometry and super resolution microscope (SIM). Moreover, I got a chance to use the super-resolution microscope to visualize more effectively the DNA damage foci in the nuclei of immune cells for my PhD project.”
Ece: “I worked with a FRET molecular beacon to monitor and quantify transcription activity in prostate-cancer cell derived spheroids. In addition to this, I worked with structured illumination microscopy (SIM), which helped me to get very detailed images of stem-cell derived cardiac spheroid sections, which I developed in FNUSA-ICRC.”

How did the project progress from then on?
Federico: “With the help of Alessia Amodio, PhD, we were able to design a probe able to bind NFAT, our target protein. We tested the binding kinetic and we performed some experiments to prove its efficacy in living cells.”
Fabiana: “We are still in contact with the University of Melbourne, with our collaborators we are now submitting the manuscript "Quantitative microscopy study for monitoring the intracellular dynamics of a DNA nanoswitch and for real-time quantification of NF-kB in single live cells.”
Petra: “The project in collaboration is being finalized and the data used for manuscript preparation.”
Ece: “Our collaboration with UoM is ongoing, in which I am continuing the work with FRET beacons in FNUSA in order to monitor mechanosensor proteins in 2D and 3D culture models.”

What was you experience at UoM?
Federico: “My internship was very enriching. I enjoyed the challenge of working in a different environment, where most of the researchers have a chemistry background, so that we had to fine tune a “common language” for an effective understanding of both biological and chemical tasks of the project. This was made easier by the fact that all the guys in Caruso lab were really nice and help me a lot in integrating in their lab.”
Fabiana: “Working with scientists with different backgrounds was challenging, I had the opportunity to learn new methods and approaches and to participate in many interesting scientific discussions. I had the chance to learn how to operate with a superresolution microscope (SIM), obtaining very important results for my PhD project. This experience was very important from both professional and personal perspective; it was a perfect combination of friendly environment and new challenges. I left Australia with many beautiful memories and unforgettable encounters (kangaroos included!).”
Petra: “The internship was a great opportunity to work directly with our collaborators and to really push the project forward through many meetings and discussion. The time at UoM was also an amazing experience in terms of networking within the research group and creating beautiful moments in every-day life in completely different environment.”
Ece: “I had an unforgettable experience in UoM. It was a different environment, being a chemistry lab, but getting involved with an interdisciplinary project is very enriching for everyone involved, and pushed the collaboration forward – and Melbourne is a stunning city! I still felt home in another continent both in terms of incredible professional and personal interactions, and I’m very happy to be continuing our project back in Brno.”

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Internships of our researchers in Australia

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Department of Chemical Engineering Melbourne School of Engineering

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