Giovanna Granata’s secondment at MAASTRO Lab, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Giovanna Granata, a RADIATE-ITN Early Stage Researcher (ESR) from the University of Oxford, describes her secondment in Maastro Lab in Sept-Oct 2018.

High-throughput radiosensitivity screenings allow the investigations of thousands of genes in the context of radiation response. The identification of novel determinants of radiosensitivity can provide a better understanding of the cellular response to ionising radiation and allow the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

Even though novel approaches in large-scale screening allow the investigation of numerous genes in a versatile experimental setup, it is still crucial to validate and characterise the identified targets.

My PhD project focuses on the identification and validation of novel determinants of radiosensitivity. By using a genome-wide CRISPR screen, I have identified a list of novel genes whose depletion increases cellular sensitivity to ionising radiation.

Stable knock down cell lines provide critical research tools for the investigation of the cellular function of the gene of interest. In order to develop a cell line, stably depleted of the genes I am investigating, I had the opportunity to undertake my secondment at Prof Marc Vooijs’ lab in Maastricht University.

Working at MAASTRO Lab was a great experience for me – both for my professional and personal development. With the help of Dr Arjan Groot, I was able to establish the research tools I needed for the continuation of my project. I have learnt novel techniques and additionally, I had the opportunity of exchanging and discussing my ideas with other excellent scientists, who I met in Prof Marc Vooijs’ lab. I also enjoyed my time visiting a new Country and getting to know a different culture. Overall, it was an inspiring and stimulating experience and it also allowed me to expand my scientific network.