FOIE GRAS NETWORK SCHOOL I

Hello and welcome to the FOIE GRAS ESRs blog!

Our first entry in the blog is dedicated to the event in which we, the FOIE GRAS ESRs team, got to meet for the very first time, the 1st FOIE GRAS Network School.

As you will discover if you follow the link, we are 13 PhD students that come from and live in different countries and that work in different research angles approaching the subject of NAFLD or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, which is a very long name for the accumulation of fat in the liver. This initial stage can worsen and inflammation of the liver can result in cirrhosis, a state in which the liver loses its structure and function. NAFLD is caused by unhealthy eating and lack of physical exercise and given the changes in lifestyle towards that direction that we are undergoing as western countries, the percentage of the population that is suffering from NAFLD is rapidly increasing. That is why we got funding from the European Commission to work for 3 years on this topic to find new ways to understand the mechanisms responsible for the development of the disease and methods to prevent and treat it.

So what was this Network School and what did we do there?

Well, Network Schools are a way for people in this kind of European Networks like FOIE GRAS to connect, work together, share impressions and present our research to one another. For this first meeting, the aim was to get to know each other and that is what we did:

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Besides becoming a team and sharing a lot of (healthy) meals together, we also attended several lectures. The topic of this Network School was MITOCHONDRIA, the powerhouses of the cells, which are affected in NAFLD and are the main target of study of the FOIE GRAS project. The last two days we were lucky enough to receive full-day practical workshops on how to operate laboratory equipment designed to measure the status of mitochondria. These lab sessions were imparted by experts from LuxCel Biosciences and Seahorse, the companies that manufacture such equipment.

 

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Within this very busy week, we also had time to visit the Joanina Library and the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra. We shared rooms, we went for dinner and drinks together, we played with origami mitochondria and we filmed the promotional video of the FOIE GRAS project; and in the end, whilst feeling the exhaustion of a productive week, we struggled to say goodbye.

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See you all at the 2nd Network School, or sooner, who knows 😉

If you want to know more about the project, you can follow us on:

 

 

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