I came across the EUSARNAD programme at the IADS conference in the middle of February at Stellenbosch, where I had also the opportunity to meet most of the EUSARNAD exchange trainees in South Africa. After Professor David Baldwin’s talk, at the conference, I was amazed about the opportunities that EUSARNAD offers to scientists in the neuroscience field, and I approached David for more information….
Before I realized it, six weeks later,there I was in the Estonian Genomic Center in the University of Tartu. The weather was awful, cold and snowing – in South Africa, the temperature was 30 Celsius! Nevertheless, I had a really warm welcome and full assistance to start my attachment at the Estonian Genomic Center (EGC). The EGC Bioinformatics and Lab managers, Dr Reedik Magi and Dr Lili Milani, respectively, smoothed my integration into high throughput sequencing technologies & data analysis by offering me a “personal” bioinformatician and wet lab RNA-seq technicians!
So, already approaching the end of my attachment, I can assure you that it is worth it to be here in Estonia! Alongside the scientific exposure to high throughput sequencing technologies through training, conferences and talks from international well known researchers in the field (all taking place in the EGC) I had a chance to have fruitful discussiosn on potential future collaborations between the University of Cape Town and University of Tartu. Moreover, my article is about to be published soon in the EUSARNAD series in Human Psychopharmacology.
I also spent some time taking advantage of the location of Estonia – weekend gateways are cheap and really interesting from a tourism point of view! I could visit other “neighbour” cities outside Estonia like Helsinki, Stockholm and Saint Petersburg. What can I say? I am really happy about my current scientific adventure!