During my third semester as an RTG 1743 doctoral researcher, I went on a mandatory lab visit to Lithuania at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University from 27 August until 12 Sepetmber, 2018. During this visit, I was able to gain theoretical knowledge, observe the practical work of the University Hospital in Vilnius and share my knowledge with the master students studying Systems Biology at Vilnius University.
My hosts devoted a considerable amount of time to explain the topics of DNA sequencing, biological pathways (among others) and explained the difficulties that could arise in the lab. I was able to meet all the professors and post-docs for a one-on-one meeting where they told me about their daily work. I am grateful for their time and the attention they gave me. Interestingly, the researchers there work closely together with the Rare Genetic Disease department sequencing DNA, thus helping with the “daily business” of the hospital by sequencing patient data and helping with the diagnosis.
Moreover, I could observe the different structure of an analogous institute in a different country and university. While the main structure of supervision was roughly the same, it was interesting to see how the different tasks were juggled between the colleagues. A common calendar with information about presence or absence of the colleagues, who is teaching what where and so forth was available online for everyone. I thought this was a useful tool to structure the work and responsibilities.
In turn, I could share my experience using PLINK with Master students studying Systems Biology at Vilnius University. I was invited to visit again as a guest lecturer for a possible block course.
Overall, I found my lab visit to be an interesting experience, which helped me broaden my horizon, better understand how the data is produced in the lab and what issues can arise from it as well as motivated me to possibly return to the same faculty as a guest lecturer.