Pamina Gräsle carried out a three-month internship with the Sakamoto Group, with support from the Erasmus+ programme. Originally from Germany, she has now returned to Heidelberg University to start her MSc thesis project in biochemistry.
Before she left, she took the time to answer some questions about her time at CBMR and what brought her here in the first place.
What attracted you to CBMR for an internship?
There are multiple factors that finally brought me to CBMR for an internship. My previous internship was in Edinburgh, which gave me plenty of positive experiences from going abroad into an unfamiliar country with a different language and culture. I was very interested in doing a further internship abroad and I was recommended CBMR in Copenhagen. At this point, I had already heard about its good reputation and high-quality metabolic research. With help from my supervisor in Scotland, I finally got a place in the Sakamoto Group. I was very happy about that. Due to the remarkable friendliness and openness in the facility, I really felt welcomed by CBMR’s international and English-speaking environment.
You had funding from Erasmus+ programme. Can you explain the programme?
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over four million Europeans to study, train, and gain experience abroad. Internships that overlapped the current lockdown period could be funded until the end, which helped me to cover ongoing costs.
What sort of research experiences did you get in the Sakamoto Group?
To be honest, I was fascinated by the high level of organisation and motivation in the Sakamoto group. Firstly, I learned how much more effective research can be when you are well organised and focused. Secondly, I was very grateful for the guidance of my supervisor, Danial, who supported me through every single step in the first weeks of my internship. It was an inspiring time where I learned a lot about different techniques and the pros and cons of using different methods. The regular group meetings helped me to understand how important critical thinking in research is, and how essential good planning is for the outcome. After each Journal Club, the subsequent “questions, guys?” was a possibility to actively think about current research and clarify issues. Although the lockdown period was quite challenging, I also had great support while writing up my Master’s internship report.
What did you enjoy most about Copenhagen?
I must admit that the most fascinating thing for me was how Copenhagen is a real (!) bike city. I remember my first bike trip on the road with so many other cyclists and experienced the good infrastructure for bicycling. Unfortunately, I could not visit all places I wanted to, due tothe lockdown, but I really enjoyed the green parks and the city’s amazing architecture.
Do you have a final message for students considering an opportunity in Copenhagen or CBMR?
If you are looking for somewhere carrying out high-quality metabolic research, plus excellent support and equipment, CBMR is the place to be! The Center offers superb working conditions with an ideal environment for establishing international contacts, while gaining plenty of experience. In addition, Copenhagen is a perfect city to explore, with a wide range of cultural offerings to enjoy during your free time.
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