ComplexINC, part of an International Training Network (ITN) for US summer students

October 28, 2015

Thanks to an initiative from the Student Research Development Center (SRDC) from the Ana G. Méndez University System (AGMUS), ComplexINC partner M. Cristina Vega (CIB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain) will be hosting awarded US students in the STEM programme. The focus of the SRDC is to motivate and mentor undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) who are willing to pursue advanced degrees at the PhD level in the future. Funded by several agencies, including the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the STEM programme enables young students to contact international laboratories where they conduct research and live new cultural experiences.

“Mentoring students, the future scientists, is always a refreshing experience. In our times, where communication is crucial, the timing is perfect for scientists to disseminate, motivate, and increase awareness for science in society. Being a part of this global initiative, an International Training Network encompassing 42 countries worldwide, fulfills two key social aspects: dissemination and training”, comments Dr. Vega. “In addition, partnering with the prestigious Spellman Institute, Atlanta, GA, which is dedicated to the academic excellence of women of African descent, is a great opportunity of joining resources to advance towards the shared goal of enhancing gender equality in science”.

In the summer the Vega lab hosted a student from Spellman Institute. During her stay, a highly active form of a fungal enzyme with biotechnological applications was produced and crystallised. The good quality of those catalase crystals was revealed at the ALBA synchrotron source (Barcelona, Spain) where they diffracted beyond 2 Å resolution. The work has been presented at two meetings in the US, one in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, in September, and a second one that will take place in Washington, D.C. at the end of October. Support from ComplexINC has been acknowledged in both.

Support for this work has been received from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N° 279039.