For our second post on NanoCarb alumni, we have the privilege to interview Dr Jennifer Fernández Alarcón, who spent her NanoCarb journey at the Mario Negri Institute in Milan and recently completed her PhD at the University of Milan-Bicocca.
She is now back in Barcelona as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Chemical Institute of Sarrià (IQS).
What has your research project focused on and what are your key results and innovations coming from your research project?
My research project within NanoCarb was focused on studying the biodistribution of glycosylated gold nanoparticles in healthy and diseased mice. The glycans coated on the gold nanoparticles surface were able to interact with immune cells and completely change the immune response in two different animal models (autoimmune diseases and cancer).
What impact do your research project and your outcomes have?
From my research project, I think that the most valuable outcome is that we were able to probe that glycans have a key role when trying to modify immune cells’ response. Each glycan has a different paper that needs to be completely understood.
What were your personal highlights over the course of your research project?
Being able to collaborate with so many different scientists during my whole PhD, exchanging resources, knowledge and fun!
Are there any elements of the training you received that you find should be integrated into local doctoral programmes?
To have the opportunity to share this experience with the other ESRs, be able to do the same trainings together, and visit the same cities for our annual meetings and even conferences.
How did the NanoCarb network impact your doctoral experience?
I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to participate in NanoCarb, performing research projects in world-recognized institutes in Europe, which was a positive experience to evolve into a more independent researcher and initiate fruitful collaborations.
What are you currently up to?
Right now, I moved back to Barcelona to start my Post-Doctoral fellowship at IQS. My research focuses on combined gene therapy, based on hydrogels embedded with RNA-loaded polymeric nanoparticles, for the treatment of aortic aneurisms in patients with Marfan disease.
We wish Jennifer all the best with her return to Barcelona and her future plans!