UC Research is partnering with UC International to 'rethink the where' through an exciting new international internship program led by the Vice President for Research and Dr. Neil Ayres, Executive Director of International Research Programs & Engagement at UC International. This program supports graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. who seek to conduct collaborative research abroad.
This past summer, the Office of Research funded and coordinated the first internship abroad, sending Sirjana Pun (third year PhD student) to the University of Bordeaux (UB). Sirjana is a student of Dr. Riccardo Barrile, assistant professor in the department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Barrile connected with UB’s Professor Giuseppe Sciumè (Institut de Mécanique et d'Ingénierie), who guided Sirjana’s research at UB.
For Sirjana, this program provided her the chance to take her previous research at UC, where she focused on developing an experimental computational model for glioblastoma in Dr. Barrile’s lab, to new heights by collaborating with UB’s labs. There, she was able to take her initial experimental model and develop it further into a digital twin model, which significantly accelerates the testing of various cell types, matrix compositions, and mechanical cues related to both diseased and healthy brain conditions, which holds the potential to serve as a powerful preclinical platform for testing novel therapeutics designed to treat glioblastoma. Since completing her internship, she has been actively working to enhance the robustness of the data with the goal of incorporating it into a manuscript intended for submission to a peer-reviewed publication.
Developing her research, while the focus of the internship, was not the only benefit that Sirjana gained. “Beyond the invaluable research skills gained during my internship,” Sirjana said, “I had the chance to forge connections with individuals from diverse backgrounds, honing my abilities to communicate and collaborate effectively for impactful research outcomes.”
On experiencing a different culture, Sirjana said, “although initially challenged by the language barrier, it served as a valuable lesson in adapting to new experiences and bolstering my confidence, essential skills for my future endeavors. I gathered profound insights from the diverse array of people I encountered, enriching my understanding of the world. Notably, I savored the opportunity to explore European cuisine, delighted by the beauty of historically significant cities and landmarks, and delve into the histories. Overall my journey was marked by challenges, excitement, and abundant learning opportunities, making it an incredibly rewarding experience.”
For details on the International Internship Program, please contact Research@uc.edu using subject line: International Internship.