ESR1: Episode One

They say time flies when you are having fun. Well, five months have passed already since I started the SENTINEL programme and I didn’t even realise it!

I left Italy last August 25th with high excitement and expectations which were completely met on arrival in Leeds, where I found a vibrant city that never leaves you with nothing to do. Leeds is located in West Yorkshire, a beautiful region with gorgeous parks and green areas which have a lot to offer. When I first arrived, I was impressed by the good vibes. Leeds is a very active and prosperous city and seems to be very student-friendly, with plenty of student activities and educational events. Its Universities are very attractive, hosting many events and activities that help students make the best use of their time and feel part of the student community.

My research is based in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering department of the University of Leeds. I am supervised by Dr. Paolo Actis, an expert in developing nanotechnology tools for biosensing, and Dr. Lucy Stead who provides her knowledge and expertise in the very complex field of genomics and sequencing. My role sits between electrical engineering and biology which perfectly fits my biomedical engineering background and makes me feel in the right place in my daily research. I am working towards developing a nanobiopsy platform based on nanopipettes to track the transcriptional reprogramming of single Glioblastoma (GBM) cells during standard treatment. Glioblastoma is an incurable brain cancer with 100% tumour recurrence. The current process for cytoplasmic extraction from cells always requires cell lysis, an invasive method used to break down a cell and extract its content which negates the possibility to study cell dynamics. We will develop and optimise a nanobiopsy platform that can be used to label and sequentially sample cytoplasmic RNA from single cells for use in expression profiling and sequencing. My first months have been entirely devoted to understanding the latest technologies that allow single-cell sampling and practicing with the nanobiopsy platform.

I got immediately involved in the activities of my research group and I feel extremely lucky to have the chance to work surrounded by brilliant scientists and great people. The wider Marie Sklodowska-Curie network makes me feel part of a bigger picture and creates huge possibilities in terms of connections and partnerships. My first months have been absolutely wonderful but I am sure the best is yet to come.

Fabio Marcuccio

Find out more about Fabio Marcuccio.