ISB Research Stays Abroad

International PhD Program ‘Integrative Structural Biology’ encourages its students to develop their networks by undertaking research stays abroad.

Young researchers are encouraged to spend at least 3 months in a laboratory abroad in order to establish international collaborations and learn new techniques. Collaboration can be established with an institution of their choice, anywhere in the world.

Stays abroad can be a very productive way to build up relationships with other labs, gain experience on a scientific and personal level and make a significant progress with the work on the project.


Our students abroad:


Amelie K. J. Schoenenwald, Tim Skern Lab

Exchange collaboration with the Subhash Vasudevan Lab
Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

October 2018 – January 2019 (4 months)

The Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) is one of the Signature Research Programs of Duke-NUS in Singapore. I was fortunate enough to visit the Vasudevan Lab which is home to brilliant, skilled and hard-working scientists under the auspices of the EID program. The lab members are diverse with different specializations who are mutually coordinated like cogs in a clockwork to perform prime research with a focus on Dengue virus and Zika virus. During my time in Singapore I benefitted from the lab’s experience with phage display which helped me discover antibody candidates for the Usutu virus.

Apart from the valuable results that were produced, I got a glimpse of what life in Singapore has to offer. The peaceful and amicable coexistence of Chinese, Malay, and Indian, with their different religions (Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Hinduists) and languages (English, Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay) blew me away.

I was able to expand not only my scientific, industrial, and social network but also my scientific and personal horizon. I highly recommend any other scientist to smell the air of other labs at least once in their career.

Amelie K. J. Schoenenwald

Fun at workEmpty Streets before the rush hour

Empty Streets before the rush hour

Lab collegues

Business vs Art in Singapore

Hiking up the highest summit of Singapore

Daniel F. Azar, Tim Skern Lab

Exchange collaboration with the Kobe Lab
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

March – July 2018 (4 months)

The event leading to our four-month exchange collaboration with the Kobe Lab (UQ, Brisbane, AU) was an encounter between Prof. Bostjan Kobe and our former colleague Dr. Sofiya Fedosyuk at a course of the International School of Crystallography in Erice, Sicily, in the summer of 2017.

The goal of our collaboration was to investigate the mechanism of modulation of the TLR4 signaling by the vaccinia virus protein A46 in vitro and in cells.

During the four months I have spent at the University of Queensland, I was able to benefit from Prof. Kobe’s and his lab’s expertise in the structural biology of Toll-like receptors and their adaptor proteins, as well as from Prof. Katryn Stacey’s and her lab’s expertise in the fields of cell biology, cell signaling and flow cytometry techniques.

Daniel Azar

Brisbane Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Gold Coast – Surfers Paradise

UQ Campus uq

The FEI Tecnai 12 is a 120kV TEM fitted with a LaB6 filament and a high resolution TWIN lens configuration

Farewell lunch – Lebanese Restaurant

Borja Mateos, Robert Konrat Lab

Exchange collaboration at the Magentic Resonance Center (CERM)
University of Florence, Italy

January- March 2018 (3 months)

I spend 3 months of my PhD in CERM (Florence, Italy) a center for research, knowledge transfer, and higher education of the University of Florence. The Center is a research infrastructure for NMR in the Life Sciences supported by the European Community.

There we collaborated with Prof. Isabella C. Felli and Prof. Roberta Pierattelli. We share the interest in intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and the development of magnetic resonance tools to address the questions arised in the field. In particular, we studied the role of prolines (an aminoacid with very peculiar physicochemical properties) in their conformational ensemble.

It was a pleasure to share some time with very nice people working in this leading magnetic resonance center. The love for a technique and a very friendly environment made the things very straightforward and fun.

Borja Mateos

Borja in Firenze

Borja’s working station, a 700MHz with a 13C-detection dedicated probe

Yulia Pivovarova, Gang Dong Lab

(November 2018 – May 2019)

Exchange collaboration with the Ke Hu Lab
Department of Biology, Indiana University in Bloomington, USA

I have spent 5 months in the lab of our long-term collaborator Prof. Ke Hu at the Department of Biology of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. By the time when I started my internship, we have already published one paper together with Hu lab and we intended to continue our fruitful collaboration. During my research stay there I was able to combine Hu lab expertise in parasitology and light microscopy together with the structural and biophysical data that we have obtained in our lab in Vienna. This was a great chance for me to see how structural biology findings can play out in vivo, in a living parasite, and how important it is to combine approaches from different fields to answer a complex scientific question. During my stay in the USA I was also able to attend several conferences (ASCB meeting-2018 in San Diego, CA; KMCB meeting-2019 in Woods Hole, MA), which was an excellent opportunity for networking and ideas exchange. Overall, my stay abroad allowed me not only to do exciting research in an extremely supportive environment of my host lab but also to meet very inspiring scientists and great people.

ASCB meeting-2018 in San Diego, CA

Chicago-private trip

Delta Vision microscope-Hu lab, IU

Indiana University in spring

Indiana university-Tudor Hall restaurant

Main gates of the Indiana University

Me presenting at KMCB-2018 in Woods Hole

Wild life in Bloomington, IN

Woods Hole – fishing village and famous marine biology center-1

Woods Hole – fishing village and famous marine biology center