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Training Events

Every six months, WallTraC researchers attend training events that provide them with scientific and non-scientific skills. Here you can read how these events contributed to their training.

WallTraC sixth training event was hosted by INRA in France. It provided the basis to analyse oligosaccharides by mass spectrometry, as well as an introduction to quality management and to occupational health & safety. Mercedes, and Praveen, PhD student at U.Leeds and Max Planck I., respectively gave us their impression at the end of the event:

“We have just had a superb training at INRA. Our non-scientific training was run by David Ropartz and Laura Lanet who gave us an overview on quality management and health and safety.

We learnt what quality management is and how quality standards, such as ISO 9001, are developed and put into practice. Also, we were shown how important health and safety is in a workplace, we were presented with real examples which made very easy to understand how to identify hazards in our work environment, take precautions and, thus, prevent accidents.

I think non—scientific training like these lectures is important for our training, and these talks in particular were very clear and provided us with very valuable knowledge for us as PhD students.” Mercedes.

Mercedes at TE6
Praveen at TE6

"The training event was well organised and started off with a good introductory lecture on the various kinds of Mass spectrometry tools used at INRA and how they can be useful in various fields of plant research especially in plant cell walls.

This was followed by a brief and simple tutorial on how to perform structural linkage analysis on pectin’s and hemicelluloses which was of more interest to me. In the end the training event proved to be quiet useful as I had the chance to learn and apply a few tips and tricks of Mass spectrometry into the plant cell wall field.

Moreover, INRA holds a fantastic working atmosphere and some experts in the field of mass spectrometry which made it an ideal choice to organise this training event." Praveen

WallTraC fifth training event was hosted by the Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. It  provided the basis to clone and characterize recombinant proteins, as well as to write successful grant proposals. Merve, PhD student at INRA, and Jean-Luc, post-doc researcher at Bayer, gave us their impression at the end of the event:

“I am pleased to have attended the intensive scientific trainings provided by Prof Carlos Fontes and Prof Harry Gilbert at Newcastle University Medical School. Despite my main interest on carbohydrate research, looking at protein, methods used for cloning, expression and purification was a good freshen up. In addition to the structure of these plant cell wall degrading enzymes and the specificities of the CBMs, we discussed about the advantages and discrepancies of the methods used in the field. Protein crystallization to determine 3D structure was an exiting topic for me, although it has some limitations in use.” Merve.

Merve Kaya
Jean-Luc Runavot

"We 've just had a very nice overview on EU Grant Writing and career development thanks to experts like Deirdre Dodd, Martin Embley that both work regularly in contact to and within the EU grant system. It was very interesting to understand how it works practically and what are the most important points to take in account when applying for a grant. They also gave us the broad picture of all the available funds for us within the next European program that is Horizon 2020. It was also very nice to have some testimonials from people that already went through this EU grant process like Claire Dumon or Tom Williams. They explained the difficulties but most important the advantages of looking for such grants on your career. This whole EU grant writing and career development training was a very good experience and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to attend it." Jean-Luc

WallTraC fourth training event was held in Potsdam in Germany. It provided the basis for systems biology-oriented bioinformatics, as well as European project management. Jeff X. Zhang, PhD student at Newcastle University, and António Sousa, PhD student at CP Kelco, gave us their impression at the end of the event:

“Having a session in European project management is a good reminder that these sorts of projects involve some more aspects rather than science itself. Overall we had a good introduction to what is going on behind the scenes when it comes to financial management at a bigger scale than our labs or institutes. Alexandre Thebaud and Alexandre Theodoridis gave us “great” perspectives - worthy of their names - into subjects that normally most of the students are unaware of. I personally enjoyed the talk we had about “Administrative management issues in EU funded projects”, as there we learned some aspects that are involved in project proposals and their acceptance in the EU context. We also heard about budgets dedicated to research and it was interesting to know how much Europe is investing in us, young students and what is foreseen for the future. It was a rather informal presentation where everyone had their chance to get involved in the discussion and I guess it went pretty well. In the end it was also funny to see some colleagues struggling with some budget calculation exercises! ” Tóne.

Antonio Sousa at TE4
Jeff X Zhang at TE4

"The Potsdam training provided with a great opportunity to broaden our mind, not only in the field of systems biology-oriented bioinformatics, but also dynamic synthesis of plant cell wall, as well as the EU project management. Thanks to the great cooperation of the two neighbouring research partners. I believe for many of us the R training session was the first time and would be unforgettable, as it always feels good to gain extra experience and skills. Great lectures from Staffan Persson as well as David Breuer about “networks” that re-defined our understanding of existing concept. Not to mention the bold graffiti and lovely music of the German cities, this event was meant to be wonderful. " Jeff

WallTraC third training event was hosted by the University of Leeds in England. It provided the basis for the usage of molecular probes and covered different topics related to ethics in science such as the use of animals and scientific integrity. Dhivyaa Rajasundaram, PhD student at the University of Potsdam, and Kate Cameron, PhD student at the University of Lisbon, gave us their impression at the end of the event:

"The scientific training event was well-balanced with the lectures providing theoretical background on the various aspects of antibody production, cell wall immunocytochemistry and microscopy.
Instead of merely sitting through lectures, emphasis was laid on practical aspects of the lectures covered to reinforce the scientific concepts. The hands on experience on immunolabelling and use of confocal microscopy to generate images interested me the most. Professor Paul gave a clear account of the presentation of micrographs in research papers and how to avoid the temptation of image manipulations.
I found the overall experience very informative as it gave me an insight into what it takes to work in the lab to generate data." Dhivyaa

Dhivyaa Rajasundaram at Training Event 3


Kate Cameron at Training Event 3

“I really enjoyed the complimentary skills training as I have always found bioethics very interesting.
The training was interactive and involved a lot of open discussions which is always a nice alternative to conventional training. It was a great opportunity to enhance communication between all members of our WallTraC group and to learn the ideas of others for addressing ethical concerns in our different areas of research.
I have no doubt I will come across some of the situations discussed and it is nice to have an idea on how best to approach them ” Kate.

WallTraC 2nd training event was hosted by Bayer CropScience in Belgium. It gave an introduction to plant cell wall architecture and covered different aspects related to the commercial exploitation of scientific results. Immacolata Venditto, PhD student at the University of Lisbon, and Julia Schückel, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen, gave us their impression at the end of the event:

"I'm really happy to have got the chance to be in a great company like Bayer. I really enjoyed visiting their labs and all the training was a great experience.
I found the scientific training very interesting and the introduction to cell wall architecture was useful because I could have a good knowledge of different plant cell wall structures. In particular, I understood that it is really important to know their structure-function relationships and I could realize how useful it is for my research." Imma.

Immacolata Venditto



“As an academic researcher, the training gave me the opportunity to better understand the special needs and procedures of a large international company by focusing on topics like HR-management, intellectual property rights and technology licensing.
I was particularly interested to see how academic and industrial partners actually collaborate to publish, patent and commercialise their investigations successfully.” Julia.

WallTraC 1st training event gave an introduction to industrial pectin production. It was hosted by CP Kelco in Denmark, and Fanny Buffetto, PhD student at INRA, was there. She gave us her impression at the end of the event:

 "After this training, I could easily see the logical link between research, development and pectin production. It gave me the background knowledge to understand the biochemistry involved in pectin applications like low sugar jams and acidified milk drinks." Fanny.