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International Doctoral Programme in Biological Bases of Human Diseases

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Bio4Med (International Doctoral Programme in Biological Bases of Human Diseases)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2017-04-30

The major aim of Bio4Med (Biology for Medicine) programme is to provide unique, international, inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral doctoral training for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the domain of biological bases of human diseases. To achieve this goal it combines 22 leading research groups at the Nencki Institute and their scientific partners from world-class laboratories located in EU Member States, Switzerland, Ukraine, Japan, Canada and US. Research programme includes basic science PhD-projects focused on molecular basis of neurodegeneration, neurological disorders, cancer and metabolic diseases. All supervising researchers engaged in the Bio4Med are at the international forefront of biomedical research and have experience in PhD student supervision.

The programme was designed to foster young researchers’ career development and employability by addressing the following objectives: (i) to offer excellent training in modern biology and endow ESRs with unique scientific knowledge, and experience in cutting-edge experimental techniques; (ii) to enhance research-oriented and transferable skills of ESRs; (iii) to promote scientific mobility via international, inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral collaboration.

Since 1 May 2015 these objectives of Bio4Med have been delivered through activities encompassing practical laboratory training, hands-on workshops, lectures corresponding to the theoretical aspects of doctoral projects, research-oriented generic skills courses, transferrable skills courses, progress talks and meetings. The training programme itself, focused on medically important issues, will make ESRs highly attractive to commercial enterprises, particularly in biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Bio4Med programme aims to increase the regional, national as well as EU competitiveness by providing a new generation of visionary and innovative researchers able to transform basic science into healthcare solutions.
In the 1st reporting period the major objectives were to:

• recruit 22 high-profile PhD students
• launch 22 inter-disciplinary and inter-sectorial PhD Projects
• provide the 22 young researchers with an attractive career option through advanced practical training in modern experimental biology provided by international authorities working with cutting-edge techniques and world-class infrastructure.

These objectives were successfully achieved, with minor deviations to the original plan (the total number of calls for proposals increased from 3 to 5) and minor delays (the last two of the PhD projects were launched in Month 19 – November 2016).

The Bio4Med training follows the EU Principles on Innovative Doctoral Training. Each researcher has been enrolled in the doctoral programme and, to take full advantage of local and programme-wide resources, actively participates in various types of training activities, such as hands-on laboratory training, secondments, practical workshops, advanced training courses, progress talks, project-specific meetings and transferrable skills courses.

As required in the MSCA Work Programme, attention was paid to the quality of supervision and mentoring arrangements as well as career guidance.
Collaboration with a set of 22 partner organizations providing training in research and transferable skills allowed the fellows access to a range of high-quality laboratories located in Europe, but also in the USA, Canada and Japan, which may ultimately make them highly attractive to commercial enterprises, particularly in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Bio4Med programme was designed to increase the regional, national as well as EU competitiveness by providing a new generation of visionary and innovative researchers able to transform basic science into healthcare solutions. The doctoral programme itself, focused on medically important issues, allows young researchers access other leading laboratories, and also makes them highly attractive to commercial enterprises, particularly in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The offered interdisciplinary, international training puts the fellows at a significant advantage compared to their peers and allow them to explore their full potential as well as stimulate their entrepreneurial skills.

Bio4Med builds a long-lasting international research network, where fellows profit from collaborations established during secondments also after the lifetime of the programme. The quality of our dynamic scientific environment guarantees the ESRs will be on the track to becoming future academic or industrial leaders. Bio4Med will enhance career development and employability of ESRs by providing training in research-oriented skills (to acquire not only solid theoretical and methodological background but also practical research skills), generic research skills (the programme develops crucial skills related to addressing scientific questions, experimental design, scientific communication, findings publication and grant writing, research management, and translational creativity, ensuring that the fellows are exceptional candidates for their next scientific jobs) and transferable skills (the training has a positive impact on the ability of ESRs to critical thinking, problem solving, data handling and analysis, career planning, team working, project managing, risk assessment, and work planning, to allow them unlock their full potential).

In the 1st reporting period Bio4Med was carried out successfully. Its deliverables were met with no outstanding problems. The Fellows cooperated as an interactive group during the training events and the intervals between them. All students have been successfully encouraged to attend relevant meetings outside the Institute. They were receiving close attention from their Supervisors. It will pay off in terms of the production of a team of well-trained scientists who will go on to successful careers. We keep on developing a vibrant research community that benefits from existing collaborations between teams. During reporting period ESRs attended 18 international conferences and 12 workshops. The research results the ESRs obtained to date have been published in 6 scientific publications.

1. Nieborowska-Skorska M et al. Ruxolitinib-induced defects in DNA repair cause sensitivity to PARP inhibitors in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Blood. 2017, pii: blood-2017-05-784942.
2. Maifrede S et al. MLL-AF9 leukemias are sensitive to PARP1 inhibitors combined with cytotoxic drugs. Mol Cancer Res. 2017 Aug;15(8): 967-972
3. Mayevska O et al. Nitric oxide donor augments antineoplastic effects of arginine deprivation in human melanoma cells. Exp Cell Res 2017, 355(2): 162-171.
4. Nagaraj Set al. Profile of 6 microRNA in blood plasma distinguish early stage Alzheimer's disease patients from non-demented subjects. Oncotarget. 2017, 8(10): 16122-16143.
5. Mietelska-Porowska A, Wojda U: T Lymphocytes and Inflammatory Mediators in the Interplay between Brain and Blood in Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential Pools of New Biomarkers. J Immunol Res. 2017;2017: 4626540.
6. Bernadzki KM et al. Liprin-α-1 is a novel component of the murine neuromuscular junction and is involved in the organization of the postsynaptic machinery. Scientific Reports 2017, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09590-7.