Yoan Emritloll (Administrative staff), Institut Pasteur (IP)
I had the opportunity to participate in an exchange at IPM in March 2019. This secondment was very enriching as it provided first-hand experience on how our network partner is organised regarding funding from European and international funding bodies.
During this secondment, together with a colleague, we gave overviews of funding opportunities open to IPM and we also held individual interviews with different IPM teams to better understand on-going collaborations and explore new collaborative possibilities.
We have laid the ground for future funding possibilities essentially for young scientists (PhD students and future post-docs). This will be pursued in further secondments between our institutes.
Nalia Mekarnia (Experienced researcher), Institut Pasteur d’Algérie (IPA)
As a PhD candidate in constant mobility, it was my first time in Czech Republic. I appreciated all the time spent in Charles University at the laboratory of Vector Biology. I thank Pr Petr VOLF and all his team for welcoming me during a month of secondment. Special thanks to Dr Jovana SADLOVA, Ms Barbora VOJTKOVÁ and Mr Tomáš BEČVÁŘ for their kindness, availability and helpful advices. Working and having fun was the perfect cocktail for a successful collaboration!
The aim objective of this secondment was to learn how to manage experimental infections of Phlebotomus papatasi, the competent vector of Leishmania major MON-25 parasite, responsible agent of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Algeria.
I learned how to manage a rearing of sandflies, how to infect them with L. major strains, and got the ability to dissect the fed female after blood meal to recover the parasites.
It was a real pleasure to be a part of the "Vector Team"and the LeiSHield-MATI network.
Kamel Benallal (Experienced researcher), Institut Pasteur d’Algérie (IPA)
As a medical entomologist in Institut Pateur of Algeria since 2006, I strated by studing ticks and their role in the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi sl in Algeria, than I switched to working on mosquitoes and sand flies on which I published some papers. For LeishMati Rise project, I am as task leader on the detection of dsRNA virus in different strains of Leishmania part.
For my first secondment in Czech Republic at Pr Petr Volf’s laboratory, it was a very nice experience which allowed me to learn lot of things with his team especially with Pr Petr Volf, Dr Jovana Sadlova, Dr Vít Dvořák, Barbora Vojtková and Tomáš Bečvá during the different discussions on how could the two laborotories sustain their collaboration during and after the project.
It is my first time in Prague, I really loved and enjoyed the time spent in this nice town known for its famous sweet cakes Trdelnik.
I’ld like to thank all the persons working in this laboratory for their hospitality, and thanks for each person who worked and accepted to share with me its knowledge and experience without expecting a return.
Barbora Vojtková (Experienced researcher), Charles University (CU)
Thanks to LeiShield - MATI project I participated the secondment in Algeria in 2018. Within research activities, we visited Algerian endemic localities in M´sila region, where we identified sand fly and rodent species and we isolated the Leishmania parasites from both vectors and host with help of local specialists. Outside field work, we also became part of the First International Workshop on Leishmaniasis Reservoirs in Algeria. Last but not least we established important collaboration with Algerian, Tunisian and French colleagues. I am convinced that the secondment was beneficial and helpful and I am very happy, that I could be a part of it. I really looking forward to the next experiences in 2019.
Jovana Sadlova (Experienced researcher), Charles University (CU)
The secondment covered three main goals - research activities (identification of sand fly and rodent species present in Algerian endemic localities and isolation of Leishmania parasites from both vectors and hosts, education (workshops, rodent identification, sand fly dissections) and establishment of collaboration and sharing of our knowledge with Algerian, Tunisian and French colleagues.
The secondment was very helpful and I enjoyed very much all the experiences in the beautiful Algerian country.
Negar Seyed (Experienced researcher), Institut Pasteur d’Iran (IPI)
During my stay in Paris, I had the chance to contribute to a pilot study about the effect of killed Leishmania stimulation of whole blood cells from healthy French donors. I had the chance to work with Leishmania experts in the Molecular Parasitology and Signaling Unit headed by Dr. Gerald Spaeth. I also got introduced to a new method capable of analyzing high numbers of analytes in a short period of time that is to say “Multiplex ELISA.
During the last 5 weeks of my secondment, I also participated in the “Advanced Immunology” course at IPP, managed by the Immunology department and Milieu Interieur project, which included both laboratory practice and lectures. The course was awesome in respect to introducing cutting-edge technologies and data analysis pipelines available at the "Center for Translational Science" of the Pasteur Institute. The lectures very much updated my immunological understanding. I am so much pleased to be part of a wider research group and strongly believe that the skills learned in such a collaborative international project will not only improve my career but also our understanding about Leishmania.
Pascale Pescher (Experienced researcher), Institut Pasteur (IP)
From the bench of a European academic researcher to the field there is a huge gap I began to fill with my first secondment in Algeria. I had several objectives for this secondment, from the comprehension of the local complete life cycle of Leishmania (sand fly-reservoir-host) and the exposition to the field working conditions (capture of sand flies and rodents, sampling from human patients), to the training on the analysis of captured animals and last but not least the networking to strengthen relations with the partners of this consortium. All these points being detrimental for me to fulfill the task 1.1 of the WP1 I am coordinating.
After a workshop on leishmaniasis reservoir in Algeria that took place at the IP annex of Sidi Fredj we were almost 15 to embark for M’Sila, 250km SE of Alger for the training in the field. We were taught on technics to capture rodents and insects and on how to analyze the collected samples. I could meet patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis, mostly kids. For the first time in my career on Leishmania I was in real contact with all the actors of this disease. I learned a lot from this experience and not only about science. I met nice and talented people from the LeiSHield-MATI network in a friendly and working atmosphere with food always on time.
Ihcen Kherachi (Experienced researcher), Institut Pasteur Algeria (IPA)
Being in Paris is in itself a unique and rewarding experience.
As a member of the Pasteur Institute network it’s a great opportunity given to me, by the project LeiSHeild MATI RISE to be on Pasteur Paris campus, to share expertise, point of view and scientific collaboration with the most prestigious researcher community.
For all those I take advantages of this secondment to reinforce human and scientific links that already exist within the Pasteur Institute Network and also outside the network.
Nastaran Sadat Savar (early stage researcher), Institut Pasteur d’Iran (IPI)
My Ph.D. thesis is focused on an alpha-viral-based Self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine platform against leishmaniasis. The main goals of my long-term secondment in IPP were to gain experience in working with RNA vectors, to formulate and test the designed vaccines. To achieve this I had the chance to work with Dr. Marco Vignuzzi and his great team at the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis (PVP) unit. Shortly after starting my secondment, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently first lockdown happened. During the Paris confinement, while my project was on hold, I joined the COVID-19 taskforce in Pasteur Institute as I believed my experience in molecular/cellular biology and the learned skills in PVP could be of help. It was a great pleasure for me to be part of the international collaborations to test potential drugs for COVID-19 and I also learned different quantification techniques that in turn helped me with the subsequent experiments for my thesis.
After the confinement, my project in PVP resumed and we successfully transcribed and tested the vaccines. During the last two months of my secondment, I had the opportunity to work with the leishmania experts, in the Molecular Parasitology and Signaling Unit headed by Prof. Gerald Spaeth. We designed and ran a pilot study on pathogenic Leishmania major. The results of this study used for designing our future challenge study for the SAM based vaccines. Special thanks to Pascale Pescher for sharing her knowledge and her precious collaboration.
LeiSHield-MATI project gave me this opportunity to not only learn a lot of skills and finish my Ph.D. project but to work with amazing scientists and build my research network.