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Students of the School of Sciences do internships in the best universities in the world.

Students from the University of Navarra stayed at centers such as Yale, Columbia, Kings College or the Max Planck Institute.

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From left to right: Julia Ilundáin, Joan Puig, Jone Zuazo and Eva Gil.
PHOTO: Manuel Castells

Several students from the School of Sciences of the University of Navarra carried out internships this summer in some of the most prestigious universities and centers of research in the world. Among them were the universities of Columbia, Yale and Chicago in the USA, King's College in London and the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt (Germany). The students enjoyed the opportunity thanks to the Global Internship Grants and SIP (Science Internship Program) scholarships. These are some of their experiences.

Joan Puig Rigall, student of 3rd year of Chemistry, was one of the lucky ones. During his stay, he worked at the department of Pharmaceutical Biophysics at King's College London. Puig collaborated in the study of a subject of surfactants (soaps) that are very useful for increasing the solubility of drugs that are difficult to dissolve in water. A work closely linked to the pharmaceutical industry, her main aspiration in the coming years.

Julia Ilundain, a 3rd year student Biochemistry , chose Columbia University in the United States as her destination. Her work consisted in carrying out functionalprograms of study within the department of molecular therapy of the high school of Psychiatry. From her stay she highlights the good reception she has had among her colleagues and the possibility of working in a laboratory of research.  

For her part, Eva Gil, who has finished this year's Degree at Biochemistry , traveled to Yale University (USA) where she studied thebehavior of an iodine and sodium transporter (NIS) that is very present in the thyroid and other tissues. "The goal is to help patients who have mutations that inactivate the transporter," he says. "In addition, the interest in NIS is mainly because its study has opened the way for new therapeutic strategies in some cancers: liver, breast, ovarian and brain." This experience will help him to apply the knowledge acquired, first in the Master's Degree in research Biomedical and then in the thesis doctoral that he will develop in the University of Navarra.

Professional internships, an asset for the future

Jone Zuazo traveled to the University of Chicago. There she was able to put on internship the techniques learned at the university and learn new ones. The student highlights "the confidence that this experience has given me to work" and has "opened her eyes". "I have realized that for a person in the scientific field, traveling abroad is essential to learn about other ways of work ".

Another student, Marina Barcena, stayed at the Vienna Biocenter, specifically at the Gregor Mendel Institute. Her project consisted in the study of the virulence of a fungus subject . During his months at the European center, he worked hard and participated in seminars and symposia. All of this she says has "made her mature as a scientist and as a Biochemistry " and understand "the paths that science can take and the effort and dedication that people invest in their research".

Finally, Leire Quintana has had the opportunity to work at the Max Planck center about 30 km from Frankfurt. There, she has worked on assays with serine proteases, enzymes that have been implicated in lung cancer.

From the School of Sciences, "an effort is being made to expand the network of laboratories in centers of excellence abroad where our students can develop internships in the summer of 2015, as well as to obtain more scholarships for them". This was emphasized by Eduardo Ansorena, one of the academic coordinators for international affairs at School.