Alizee Steer’s Secondment in Dresden, Germany

Alizee Steer a RADIATE-ITN ESR from the Universität Duisburg-Essen describes the work in her secondment in Dresden, Germany, Oct-Nov 2017

During my PhD, I aim to unravel how cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) modulate the radiation response of tumors by supporting a radiation resistant cancer cell phenotype. During my first year, I obtained some nice results in vivo. I had the objective to reproduce this observation in vitro and go deeper in the scientific explanation. However, establishing this kind of experiment was more challenging than I thought. I succeeded in getting some promising results, but the effects observed were weaker than expected.

In this context, I had the opportunity to perform, during 6 weeks from 2nd October 2017 to the 13th November 2017, a secondment at the National Center for Radiation Research, Oncoray in Dresden. The team of Nils Cordes is focused on cell adhesion molecules of the integrin family and their signaling pathways and specialize in more physiological 3D cell culture models. Three-dimensional cell culture systems represent more accurately the actual microenvironment where cells reside in tissues. It has been demonstrated that cell responses in 3D cultures are more similar to in vivo behavior compared to 2D culture. Visiting the lab of Prof. Cordes, gave me the chance to learn this innovative technique which would compensate for the limitation of my previous experiments.

Besides learning new technics and sharing scientific ideas, I had a great opportunity to see the organization of another lab and to spend some really nice time with the group and more particularly with my colleagues ITN radiate-ESR, Sarah, Wei Chun and Angela. The secondment has been valuable to me both professionally and personally.