My secondment in Cambridge

My project involves Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis of melanoma samples to understand resistance mechanisms to immunotherapy. Dr. Adams, who is one of the principal investigators of our Marie-Curie Ph.D. program based at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, offered his help and expertise to perform the bioinformatic analysis of my samples and hopefully get some important results. As a Marie-Curie Ph.D. student, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Training Network grant covers expenses for my secondments, if it is needed, together with the expenses of my own research.

By the time I was planning to go to visit the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, I leared about the possibility to apply for an EACR travel fellowship. The European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) aims to advance cancer research, from basic to translation research, prevention, treatment, and care. The EACR together with Worldwide Cancer Research provides Travel Fellowships up to €3000 to early-career cancer researchers for a short-term secondment to learn new skills in a foreign research group. The program helps Ph.D. students to travel and carry out a research project or develop a specific research skill. Not only the EACR Travel Fellows have to opportunity to gain new expertise but have the great opportunity to cultivate international collaborations.

I was indeed awarded the EACR travel fellowship to visit Dr. Adams’ research group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge at the end of 2018. For me winning a prestigious EACR travel fellowship not only meant that the money saved could be used for research instead of traveling but this award is a gem in my academic achievements. Research funding is, in fact, an important aspect of academic life.

My secondment at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute by Dr. Adams allowed me to complete an important part of my Ph.D. thesis by learning some bioinformatics. The skills I learned during those months will be helpful further down the line in my career. This experience was financed both by the EACR travel fellowship and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Training Network grant and I am very grateful to both the funding agencies for this invaluable opportunity. I am also deeply grateful to Dr. Adams for helping me and welcoming me to his research group for two months.

Here is a full article on my secondment published by the EACR online magazine for the cancer research community.

Here you can find the many funding opportunities of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

Here is the link to get info on and apply to the EACR Travel Fellowships, for those who are looking at ways to sponsor their secondments.


Sonia Leonardelli