Research internship at the IFB AdiposityDiseases - Experiences of a Danish student (part 2)

The Danish research intern Bror Tobiasen continues here his report about his work in the research laboratory and his experiences in the city of Leipzig, Germany. He has been enthusiastic about both.

IFB-Forschungspraktikant Bror Tobiasen
Research intern Bror Tobiasen examines adipose tissue. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)
Bror benefited most from the practical work in the research laboratory. He also appreciated the "Theoretical Course-Program" accompanying the internship. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

The last "Current Issue" was about Bror's coming to Leipzig and starting his research internship at the IFB. Find out more about his work in the laboratory and his adventures in Leipzig. Here is the continuation of his report:

After a short introduction I was showed around in the research facility and introduced to my colleagues. The first couple of weeks my work was mainly on molecular practices in the lab. I quickly became familiar with the everyday routine, and the involvement in the project as well as my responsibilities increased fast. The group I’m working with, and especially the lab technician Viola, were really helpful and everyone took a lot of time to answer all my questions and  explain everything about the protocols and equipment in the laboratory. The only premise was that I had to ask, which I find really rewarding. Throughout this internship I’ve gained knowledge and practical experience with different laboratory techniques (various types of PCR, western blotting, ELISA, flow cytometry, in-situ hybridization, tissue extraction from mice) I also got familiar with the routine works, such as the basic handling and procedures with primary cell cultures using aseptic techniques, performing gene modifications (transfection and knock-out) on fat cells.

I also gained insight into the breeding protocols  of the creation of transgenic mice and an overview of the study setups, with regards to backcrossing strategies, which are used to identify novel candidate genes. The most valuable result of this internship  was definitely  to be able to get first-hand practical experience. Because it is one thing to know the theoretical background and read the articles, but a whole other  thing to actually do it yourself and work in the lab. Right now I’m working on my own little project which is really great. It gives me some responsibility and challenges which I find really rewarding, of course there are trials and error, but that’s also part of it.

Adipositas-Operation am Universitätsklinikum Leipzig
Bror was able to attend a bariatric operation by Prof. Arne Dietrich (left), and thus to learn more about the surgical obesity therapy. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

Besides my work in the laboratory I was privileged to listen to some really exciting talks from a lot of admirable people, who are very passionate about their research projects. These have given me insights into the many facets of obesity research. I also got the opportunity to watch a bariatric surgery performed by Prof. Dr. Arne Dietrich, and I must say, I was very impressed by his work.

All in all, this internship has given me deeper knowledge of the many challenges and opportunities in the field of obesity research. Finding and developing useful animal models in obesity, with good translational value, is important, and doing so would contribute to a better insight into the extremely complex and multifactorial pathogenesis of obesity and help detect candidate genes which are associated with obesity – hopefully translating this knowledge to humans, which would be really valuable in the fight against the global epidemic of obesity. This internship has encouraged me to continue to pursue a career in biomedicine and research and has only fueled my passion. Besides the academic work I also had the chance to visit the Leipzig Zoo, concerts with classical music, and the book fair of Leipzig. I tried some good bars, got coffee of course and did a lot of other things. Leipzig is a wonderful city, with a lot to offer.

Bror im OP
One of Bror's highlights was to be in the operating theatre and to assist in a bariatric procedure. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

So if you, like me, are thinking about pursuing a career in research, the MS Pro research internship offers an unique opportunity to test your passion for research. The only premise is that you are willing to learn and to ask a lot of questions. The worst thing that can happen is that you figure out that  obesity research is not for you, and even that conclusion could turn out to be a good experience. In the end we all should do something we are passionate about and so far I know that I am on the right path, all thanks to this internship.

Bror Tobiasen