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Testimonial of Dimitris Koufopoulos

University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Research Group Christoph Handschin

Where do you come from and what do you study?
I am from Greece and study Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, heading for a Major in Developmental Biology. I have just finished my second year and still have two more years to go.

What are you working on during your internship?
I am working in Christoph Handschin’s group and am helping my two supervisors, Geraldine Maier and Martin Weihrauch, with their experiments for their PhD thesis. We are investigating muscle diseases. Geraldine is trying to see how exercise alters the circadian rhythm and Martin analyses long non-coding RNAs in mice muscle cells. They really involve me and let me do experiments. It’s great that they entrust me with their samples, knowing how important they are for them. This makes me feel very respected and I work hard not to mess it up.

What concretely have you learned up to now?
I have been here for a month now and I have learned many things, including the basics of how to do lab work, how to pipette correctly, how to set up an experiment and what procedures to follow. 

How does it feel to work in a research group?
It’s fun and a very good experience. I am glad that I made the decision to come here. I mean, even if it is only for six weeks, it helps you a lot to find out if you like lab work and doing research and this knowledge may alter your whole career. 

What do you like best about the program?
Well, apart from the lab work, it’s also the chance to learn about research in academia. And for me, coming from abroad, it’s also very interesting to get to know Basel and see if I like it here, as I know that Basel is an important life sciences cluster with a lot of job opportunities.

And do you like it here?
Basel is a very nice city, picturesque and well preserved and you can easily walk around. I just didn’t expect the weather to be so hot (he laughs). 

Have you met the other Research Summer participants?
Oh yes. A special scientific and social program has been set up for us, so we meet at aperos and at lectures and today we went together on a tour of the new Biozentrum building.