My SAP experience at Finland

The Journey 
The 1st day of the year, Jan 1, 2012 might be a special day in everyone’s life, but in my case it’s the most awaited and the most special day. Yes this the day which I was longing for more than 2 years since joining my B.Tech. Biocenter Oulu is an umbrella organization consisting of ~ 20 research groups spread across different faculties. 
The first day in Oulu, Finland 
With more excitement and weather poking on the otherside, I was waiting for the sunrise and then I ve been told that there won’t be much sunlight in the month of December and January. I got introduced to my project supervisor Aki Manninen, Ph.D. He introduced me to all his group members ,administrative staff, showed me all the labs personally and helped me in getting the access keys for the institute .On the very first day ,I had the discussion on what am going to do for next 6 months.
Working Experience
My project addresses “the role of αV Integrins in Embryonic stem cell Self Renewal”. My work being part of Mr. Sandhanakrishnan’s work on “INTEGRIN MEDIATED CELL-ECM INTERACTIONS REGULATE DIFFERENTIATION AND SELF RENEWAL CAPACITY OF mES CELLS”. The first three weeks of January was of literature study and demo on what am going to and what should I do. My work is to GENERATE RECOMBINANT LENTIVIRUSES using the 293T CELLS, which involves the transfection of Lentiviral Transfer Vector containing the desired insert and other accessory genes. After generating lentivirus containing desired shRNA, lentivirus mediated RNAi (RNA interference) was used to specifically knockdown the expression of selected αV integrin genes. Viruses containing knockdown constructs are then infected in ES cells and further experiments are carried out. The Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research is one of the pioneers in Bio-Imaging. 

This has given me a chance in learning many different microscopic techniques such as confocal microscopy, Multipoint Time lapse Live cell Imaging System, Live cell Microscopy with upright and water immersion objectives and Fluorescence microscope with microinjection system. Apart from these techniques, I had an opportunity to learn flow cytometry and kibron stiffness probe to measure the stiffness of ECM matrix coatings used to culture the cells. Also we have lab meetings every week to update the team members on what everyone is working on, Journal clubs to discuss new ideas.I am also attending a lecture series on “Advanced course in Proteins and Peptides” which has been specially meant for Doctoral students. I was given a travel grant from Oulu to Helsinki to attend The 5th Finnish Cell Biology Symposium which was held at Lammi Biological Station, Helsinki. Though I ve been here only from January on, I was amazed when my research supervisor Aki Manninen discusses with me to get my opinion on science to equipment purchase
Life in Oulu
Oulu which is located just 100 kms south of Arctic Circle is small but a beautiful city. The cost of living in Finland in really very high when compared to other European Nations. I made a huge survey in supermarkets so as to get an idea what to buy and what not. Still I don’t know, how I am buying things from the markets since everything is written only in Finnish and mostly they speak in Finnish. Moreover people here are really kind enough, polite and soft spoken. But except for people in academic side, mostly everyone speaks Finnish. The winter is harsh being dark and freezing cold, it’s a must to drink black coffee often to avoid sleeping in Lab, but the caffeine made me to have a really poor sleep in the night for 3 months. Being a veggie, non drinker and with no sunlight, I found myself in a really worst situation lacking Vitamin D and peaceful sleep. I’m proud enough that, I ve managed well with extreme temperature of -32˚c for 4 days in February while till the march end, temperature was -10˚c .From April onwards, the conditions changed here in North.. It’s now mostly 17 hrs of day but the temperature is quite warm now (+5˚c).  Sun rises up at 4.45 am and sets by 11.45 pm. And again I ve lost my sleep due to longer day time. I had an opportunity to see northern lights or Aurora Borealis more than 4 times. Whatever be the climatic conditions, I whole heartedly satisfied in studying and living here in Oulu. It is a wonderful personal and great professional learning experience. I must express my sincere gratitude to the Dept Head Dr.M.Parani & Department of Genetic Engineering for their support and help and also SRM University for making this happen. I also would like to thank all the people of International Relations Office, SRM University for their guidance. Last but importantly I would like to thank my parents, my whole family and friends for their trust on me.

IV Year Genetic Engineering 
Jayendra Kishore