Education Working Party
2014/2015 Short-term fellowship report
by Pauline van Schouwenburg
Being awarded the ESID short-term fellowship in 2015 allowed me to visit the group of Dr van der Burg at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in June 2015.
When I first met Dr van der Burg at the 2014 ESID in Prague I was working as a post-doc in the group of Smita Patel at the University of Oxford. In my research I combined whole genome sequencing with RNA sequencing to identify novel pathways deregulated in patients suffering from Common variable immunodeficiency disorders (CVID). One of the pathways we had just identified was non-homologous end-joining, a process essential for V(D)J recombination. At the ESID meeting Dr van der Burg presented her work on B-cell receptor (BCR) sequencing in patients suffering from a V(D)J recombination defect. This started a discussion on a possible role of V(D)J recombination defects in CVID patients, which eventually led to a collaborative project between the group of Dr van der Burg and the group of Dr Patel to investigate this.
Part of this collaboration consisted of studying the naïve BCR repertoire in CVID patients. The ESID short-term fellowship allowed me to visit the lab of Dr van der Burg to learn the state of the art next generation sequencing technique that the group of Dr van der Burg has developed to study the BCR repertoire. Moreover, they have also introduced me to the complex bio-informatics involved in analyzing these data. The great expertise and extensive experience in studying both CVID and V(D)J recombination defects also made the lab of Dr van der Burg a great place to discuss my research.
After the ESID meeting in Prague I also applied for more long term funding to investigate the role of V(D)J recombination defects in CVID. During my visit the members of the lab of Dr van der Burg were very helpful in helping me prepare for an interview for a three year fellowship. Their comments further improved my presentation and they helped me prepare for the questions I could expect. The suggestions of the group of Dr van der Burg were really helpful for obtaining the three year fellowship which is currently allowing me to continue this collaborative research at the Erasmus MC in the lab of Dr van der Burg, in close collaboration with the group of Dr Patel in Oxford.
I am really grateful to the ESID for awarding me the ESID short-term fellowship and supporting my visit to Rotterdam. This visit has been very beneficial for my current research, the collaboration between the lab of Dr van der Burg and Dr Patel and my research career.
Dr Pauline van Schouwenburg