My SAP journey – SRM University to LEBS, CNRS- FRANCE

This exciting Journey started with a simple motivation that I had towards research and the desire to do something in the field of life science. So, first of all I started to search for the opportunities abroad through internet, and discussion with my friends who also were interested like me. Then I shortlisted the labs which were working on the areas of life-science that suites my interest and started to apply them. After a while I started to receive replies, but I have to say that theywerenot that positive initially. But I didn’t lose the interest, I kept analyzing mistakes that I was doing in the application process and tried to rectify them in further applications.

After a very long period, one fine day I started to get positives replies from Labs that I applied.

This was the moment in which I had the element of choice and I am pretty sure that this was the toughest part. I discussed with lots of elders and friends for their opinions, but at last I thought to haveconversations with the respective Heads of the research group regarding the type of research that I will be doing over there, the kind of atmosphere in the lab and future endeavors etc.

 “Guys, I want to say one simple thing out of my experience – A lab should be chosen not only by seeing what project it offers to you, but also by weighing other most critical part, the people those who are working in the lab and especially your guide.”

After considering various criteria, I took the opportunity of working with Dr. Alexis Gautreau, headof the “Cytoskeleton and cell morphogenesis” group at the “Laboratoired'EnzymologieetBiochimieStructurales” (LEBS), C.N.R.S.

The day I received the official invitation letter was a happy moment for me and I couldn’t wait to sharemy happiness. When I went to meet with Dr. M. Parani, the pride that was reflected in his eyes as hecongratulated me was truly the icing on the cake!Parani sir, were been so supportive and helpful in making this opportunity possible for me.

After completing the official paperwork, I boarded the flight to Paris. That moment was like a dream cometrue for me.When I landed, I was received by my head of the Lab, Dr.Alexis Gautreau which made me wonder how much down to earth person he is.My Guide made sure that I feel at ease and settle down. On my first day of my lab, I was introduced to the lab mates and my project was explained clearly to me.It was explained in a very friendly way, by just penning down the main idea on a sheet of paper and explaining my role. By this type of approach, I was flattered and actually was able to understand the project easier.

My project is about – “Validation of novel protein partners of WASH and WAVE complex, key regulators of the actin cytoskeleton.” In this project I am studying the protein-Protein interaction among the sub-units of WAVE and WASH, the key regulators of the actin cytoskeleton. This project gives me a scope to learn the various techniques to analyze the interaction among the various protein Sub-units and analyze the dependence of each sub units with one another. The homology among the WAVE and WASH complex is also studied.

I spent the first week to get used to the lab itself and in the first month I was trained to do basicexperiments. It started out being tough but with the support and encouragement from my lab matesand Dr. Gautreau, I got a grip on the experiments. My guide always said that “Doing Science is all aboutlearning and proceeding with confidence, step by step towards the goal “. With his motivation and beliefin me, I am now fully autonomous in the lab. At the weekly Bibliography meeting, every researcher in thelab takes turns in presenting a paper and the audiences are involved in analyzing the figures and results ofthe presentation. This exercise is very useful for my career as I get to read research papers every week andthis gives me an opportunity to stay in touch with the latest updates in the field.

The multi-cultural atmosphere of my lab makes for mealtime discussions that are as vivid in its nature asthe people, which makes my experience here culturally rich. I get to learn many things each day apart fromscience. People here are so patient and down to earth clarifying every doubt I have, helping and supportingme in every way possible.

This internship is undoubtedly a milestone in my career. The most important thing I learned after comingto France is, the opportunities available are endless. To go after them, the only necessity is strongmotivation and persistence.

I would like to thank SRM university, enabling the students to have an experience like this by creatinga “Semester Abroad Program” and special thanks to Dr.M.Parani , for being very supportive in each andevery official steps. I am indeed very thankful to my guide Dr. Alexis Gautreau for giving this wonderfulchance to work in his lab.

IV Year Genetic Engineering 
Sai Prasanna