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International Interdisciplinary PhD studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics. Supporting the career and training in omic-based research and biostatistics by inter-national and-sectoral mobility

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ImPRESS (International Interdisciplinary PhD studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics. Supporting the career and training in omic-based research and biostatistics by inter-national and-sectoral mobility)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-02-01 do 2020-01-31

The aim of the ImPRESS project was to launch International Interdisciplinary PhD Studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics aimed at young scientists conducting research on lifestyle diseases and on biostatistics and bioinformatics methods necessary to process and interpret data obtained in research projects. High scientific and clinical potential of the Medical University of Bialystok (MUB) in the field of modern medicine and vast experience in running Interdisciplinary PhD Studies in English in cooperation with foreign scientific partners encouraged us to believe that the International Interdisciplinary PhD Studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics will also succeed. Therefore, our desire was to obtain new funds and to continue a similar, but improved on the basis of our recent experience gained during conducting these studies, model of education.
The ImPRESS project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754432 and the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, from financial resources for science in 2018-2023 granted for the implementation of an international co-financed project. The newly created International Interdisciplinary PhD Studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics develop the existing studies and provide an outstanding opportunity for in-depth education in high-throughput experimental and computational techniques used in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and immunology. PhD students are involved in large-scale scientific projects carried out with excellent researchers from European centers. The aim of the early stage researchers research projects is searching for new markers for early detection and prevention together with biomarkers of effective individualized therapy of civilization diseases (also referred to as lifestyle diseases or non-communicable disease) based on innovative large-scale (high-throughput technologies) including genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and cutting-edge hybrid PET/MR imaging for diagnosis and research.
According to the WHO report, the number of patients suffering from civilization diseases, the main health hazards for society such as cancer (lung cancer, brain tumors), cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases (Alzheimer's disease), increases in the rate of an epidemic (it will increase 2-3 times until 2030). In many cases there is no effective treatment, which generates huge costs for state budgets. The use of biomarkers may allow for early detection, prevention and therapy individualization of these diseases. Modern research on biomarkers is conducted using state of the art advanced technologies in the field of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics which is the main subject of the PhD studies.
Cooperation with strong partner organisations: CEMBIO from San Pablo University; National Centre for Cardiovascular Research from Spain, Szentágothai Research Centre from University of Pécs, Bialystok University of Technology and CenStat from Hasselt University, gives us a tremendous opportunity to implement actions which are exceptionally important for European science and higher education. Huge data sets generated in large-scale research projects require expertise in both the field of medical biology and the knowledge of advanced data analysis methods.
But why Medical University of Bialystok? It is one of the most rapidly developing research centres in the field of medical sciences in Poland. Through effective acquisition of funds in the last 15 years, the University significantly improved its infrastructure, necessary for the execution of projects in the field of personalized medicine with a special focus on diabetes and obesity. MUB has received grants for purchasing top-class equipment in the field of genetics (Next Generation Sequencing - NGS), metabolomics, proteomics, and exercise testing, all factors which have contributed to the improvement of the scientific potential of MUB. The University has the infrastructure to carry out research at the highest level. Increasing the experience and knowledge of students and scientists by using state of the art infrastructure improves the quality of research and enables MUB to join world leaders in the field of -omics research.
Recruitment of eligible candidates was held within a broad, internationally promoted competition based on open, transparent and impartial basis, which resulted in 181 candidates who had registered in the system. The target group of the programme were young aspiring scientists of any nationality, coming from any country in the world. Preference was given to graduates of biology, biotechnology, laboratory medicine, pharmacy, and medicine. Finally, out of 131 candidates, 15 best early stage researchers were accepted and 15 ambitious and promising researchers were placed on the reserve list. In October 2018 MUB has launched 4-year International Interdisciplinary PhD studies in Biomedical Research and Biostatistics leading to a doctoral degree.
Education of the PhD students is focused on technology and biomedical knowledge necessary for research on biomarkers, including the basics of biostatistics and bioinformatics. PhD students have been participating in courses , visiting professors’ lectures and workshops on e.g. metabolomics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, biostatistics and bioinformatics. ImPRESS PhD supervisors are outstanding scientists with a profound expertise and experience in the thematic areas of the PhD studies (Cancer/Mutagenesis, Cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes/Obesity, Metabolic diseases, Neurodegenerative diseases, Regenerative medicine in civilization diseases, Molecular Biology, Genomics, Protein Analysis and Proteomics, Metabolomics/Lipidomics, Immunology).
PhD students have been employed for the whole duration of their studies. The development of their research potential has been based on conducting their own research projects, going for internships, short research visits, conferences, and trainings, not only to the partner institutions, but also to other best research centers in the world. Young scientists have had an opportunity to practice in domestic and foreign academic centers specializing in oncology, cardiology, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, molecular biology, genetics and proteomics. Following only 16 months of enrollment in the ImPRESS programme PhD students have published 15 scientific papers in renowned scientific journals and many more papers are submitted for publication. They have been presenting their research results at prestigious scientific conferences all over the world; in 16 months they have participated in 10 conferences, 26 research visits, workshops and trainings presenting 11 posters and they further contributed to 21 presentations of the research outcomes.
Modern research on biomarkers is conducted using state of the art advanced technologies in the field of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics which is the main subject of the ImPRESS programme. The discovered biomarkers will be used in prevention of civilization diseases and this may improve the health of the EU community. Further on, this may result in governmental expenses decrease for treatment of the diseases and rehabilitation.