News: Eleven undergraduate students spent the summer at CRAG thanks to the “Severo Ochoa” program
This year CRAG has launched for the first time the “CRAG Severo Ochoa Summer Internship Program for Undergraduate Students”, a program aimed at providing a real research experience in plant and animal molecular biology to undergraduate students.
Though a competitive call launched in February, eleven bachelor and master students from different European countries were chosen to participate in this program. During four-five weeks, each of these fellows has been allocated in a CRAG research group under the supervision of a principal investigator, where, with the support of a postdoc or an experienced PhD student, they are developing a small research project. At the end of their stay at CRAG, the students will present their work.
These undergraduate fellows are also receiving specific training on statistics and bioinformatics, as well as in transversal skills such as science communication and project management.
Damian Dasilva, a student who has just obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela, is training on statistical and population genomics with CRAG researcher Sebastián Ramos-Onsins this summer. Damian explains that the “CRAG Severo Ochoa Summer Program” has dramatically changed his perspective of biology and life in general. “Living science from the inside is an amazing experience. Furthermore, the group seminars about communication skills and bioinformatics were very helpful, making the training during this internship really complete", he adds.
Damian, as most of the undergraduate fellows in the program, has been housed by the CRAG Severo Ochoa program in the apartments of la “Vila Universitaria”, in the UAB Campus. The Serbian student Ivana Matijevic is also living at the campus during her stay at CRAG. Ivana, a biology student who is doing her summer research project in the laboratory of the ICREA Professor at CRAG Soraya Pelaz, explains that this experience is providing her with the required knowledge, motivation and a new perspective, especially for her future scientific career.
Marina Alarcon has just graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology and is spending part of her summer at CRAG. With the IRTA researcher Iban Eduardo, Marina is training in peach genetics in the laboratory and she has been also able to visit the peach collection in the IRTA’s experimental fields in Lleida. "It has been incredibly valuable to participate in both laboratory work and field work directed to improve the agricultural value of plants", Marina explains.
Overall, the summer students coincide in evaluating this summer programme as a very enriching opportunity. Mónica Varona, a student of a Genetics Degree concludes: “I´ve been working with amazing people and great scientists. Definitely, I would recommend this experience to everyone”.