Pelican grants for PhD candidates to support training and mobility in brain cancer research

Andrés Cano Galiano and Matthieu Gobin, PhD candidates at LIH’s Department of Oncology, are two of the successful applicants for the Pelican Grant 2017 from the foundation “Fondation du Pélican de Mie et Pierre Hippert-Faber”.

The “Fondation du Pélican” is under the aegis of the “Fondation de Luxembourg” and was established in 2010 by the retired pharmacist Pierre Hippert. Its chief objectives are to support biomedical and biotechnological research in Luxembourg as well as national institutions in the field of art and letters. The foundation yearly awards a number of applying PhD candidates affiliated with the Doctoral Programme in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine of the School in Science and Engineering (DSSE) at the University of Luxembourg with the “Pelican grant”. This grant is meant for expenses related to training and professional development. It can thus be used for travel, accommodation and registration costs for conferences, workshops and courses or to finance short-term stays abroad in the frame of research collaborations.

Andrés Cano Galiano and Matthieu Gobin both received 10.000 Euros. ‘We are delighted to get this important financial support from a Luxembourgish foundation for building our scientific career’, tell the two awardees who both carry out their PhD projects in brain tumour research in the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory in LIH’s Department of Oncology.

Andrés Cano Galiano intends to use his grant to increase his expertise in cancer metabolism, which is essential for his PhD project on the metabolic escape mechanisms of glioblastoma with a specific mutation. He wants to attend a technical training in metabolomics at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States. He also plans for a two-month stay at the Technicon Integrated Cancer Centre in Israel in the laboratory of Dr Eyal Gottlieb to study oxidative stress processes in cancer. In addition, Andrés would like to attend at least two international congresses in Europe.

Matthieu Gobin aims for two research stays in collaborating laboratories in Norway and Vermont, USA. There, Matthieu will be able to use specific assays necessary to progress in his research project on DNA repair mechanisms in glioblastoma resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide. Furthermore, these active laboratory stays will be an opportunity to strengthen research collaborations and acquire new expertise beneficial for the whole research team. Lastly, the attendance of two large international conferences in 2018 will be a unique opportunity to present and promote the research performed in the research unit and especially in Luxembourg.

Noteworthy, Mohamad Sarmini, another PhD candidate from the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, who initially also applied for the Pelican grant, was awarded with a travel grant of 2000 Euros by the Doctoral Programme in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine of the DSSE. He studies the role of long non-coding RNAs in glioblastoma sensitivity to chemotherapy. ‘I will use the grant for a three-month internship in Edinburgh or to attend a Keystone meeting in Canada this year’, says Mohamad.