From the 18th to the 22nd of June 2021, the ESRs took part in the first NATURE-ETN training week, which covered a mix between soft and technical skills. The training was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent travel limitations.
|During the first day, the ESRs were introduced to Hugh Kearns’ (ThinkWell) Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Research Students. |
In this workshop, Kearns described key habits that help PhD students complete their research project efficiently, ensuring appropriate work-life balance and overcoming issues such as writer’s block and imposter syndrome.
|The second day started with a training session on Research Project Management from the partner organisation accelopment Switzerland Ltd.|
The training covered aspects such as project planning, project monitoring, reporting, risk management, and project communication.
The scientific training consisted of both live and pre-recorded (asynchronous) lectures and the materials will remain available to the ESRs for future references.
|Prof Tom Brown from the University of Oxford gave introductory and advanced lectures on the Synthesis of Biomolecules. This training notably covered nucleic acid structures, as well as oligonucleotide synthesis and their use as drugs in genetic and forensic analyses.|
Dr Tom Brown Jnr from the oligonucleotide synthesis company ATDBio provided additional insights from more applied and commercial perspectives, and an introduction to ATDBio’s activities.
|On the third and last day, Prof Andrew Kellett, Coordinator of NATURE-ETN, and his team at the Dublin City University (DCU) introduced the ESRs to artificial gene editing systems and molecular methods. |
Prof Andrew Kellett discussed in detail metallodrug-DNA interactions, chemical nucleases, and advanced hybrid biomaterials for gene editing using click chemistry. Pre-recorded lectures with the principles of novel methodologies, techniques, and biophysical assays developed within the Kellett group were followed by high-quality virtual laboratory sessions recorded at the exceptionally well-equipped facilities at DCU.
This was the first of a series of training events that will be held both online and in-person throughout the project duration.