Hanno trascorso tre anni nei laboratori dell’Istituto di chimica biomolecolare (Icb) del Cnr, Ali Mokhtar Mahmoud Mohamed ed Alba Clara Fernández Rilo, i neodottorati INCIPIT (G.A. 665403) che lunedì 16 Dicembre hanno discusso all’Università di Caserta 'Luigi Vanvitelli' le loro tesi di dottorato dai titoli “Effect of non-psychotropic cannabinoids on tumour growth in hormone refractory prostate cancer” e “Untangling the phosphorylation of tau by understanding the role of novel interplayers: Endocannabinoid system, Orexin, Leptin and 2-AGP”.
Selezionati tra le centinaia di giovani ricercatori che volevano finalizzare i loro studi con un PhD in Italia, hanno concluso i loro progetti sotto la supervisione rispettivamente delle dott.sse Alessia Ligresti e Luigia Cristino.
Di seguito l’intervista, condotta da un loro collega, in occasione dell’evento.
Ali, you come from Giza – Egypt: how was your experience in Italy? And at the Cnr?
It was great, the travel its self is teaching a lot of different meaning of life. At the beginning actually the language was the main difficulty and the PhD duties were not giving me much free time to learn Italian language. Another thing is the transportation, so difficult to know the exact schedule and there are a lot of strikes.
The culture difference was not a problem actually as people in Napoli are extremely respectful. In this sense, since I arrived I feel like I am in Egypt as I am keeping my habits and my religion in complete freedom. As I really like sport and specially football, I found in Napoli my perfect environment to enjoy. People at Cnr are so friendly and football addicted that I also enjoyed being part of ICB football team.
Several months after my arrival, my wife and my 3 children joined me and their presence here supported me a lot. My youngest daughter was less than one year when she arrived and now she considers herself Italian.
At Cnr, I was welcomed and I had the pleasure of knowing and interacting with other INCIPT students coming from many Countries of the world. I would like to thank the coordinator of the project, Antonio Simeone, dr. Marilena Rossano as Management Board and Delia Graniero. Above all I would like to thank my supervisor, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my mentor Dr. Alessia Ligresti who did a lot to guide me during my thesis work and to welcome my big family. Moreover, she ensured me many collaborations and networking in the scientific society and she helped me to collaborate with other research groups.
What opportunities did the INCIPIT project give you?
During my INCIPIT PhD, I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge. Studying the effect of cannabinoids on prostate cancer via their effects on mitochondria and metabolism, I had the possibility of going in depth in understanding the role of mitochondria and metabolism in cancer. My passion and enthusiasm actually increased and I want study more about cancer and metabolism.
During my INCIPIT PhD, I have gained also an internship in Quebec City, Canada. Lots of experience not only scientifically but also in all aspects of life. I attended also to two international meetings in Netherland and USA, which were a great chance to wide my horizons and to gain more experiences.
And what about you Alba? How would you judge your INCIPIT training experience in the project?
I consider that all this experience was great, very challenging and demanding from the beginning with exceptional results regarding training and PhD project. In particular all the INCIPIT courses with the rest of my INCIPIT colleagues helped me a lot to understand different points of view and gain lots of experience not only regarding scientific competences. The courses and activities were very inspiring and helpful to grow as student and as a future scientist with several chances to interact with professionals from other sectors. Also the training was a good chance to make friends and find some possible collaborators with my laboratory so overall the whole experience was excellent.
As well as I have the chance to complement this training due to two internships to attend to Neuron Technology SiSSA Summer School and IBRO-Kemali/MNS Mediterranean School that I have gained during this period.
Do you think your studies are going deeper in the future? If so with what results?
Ali: Our study is solving the puzzle of how non-psychotropic cannabinoids have such a pleiotropic effect on different cancer models. We are going more deeper to prove our proposed mechanism for their effect on prostate cancer cells.
Alba: I am feeling very optimistic with all the results regarding my PhD project and with the possibility to better understand the mechanisms under the Tau phosphorylation and how novel interplayers as Orexin-A, Endocannabionid System or 2-AGP can modulate this process and in this way be able to identify new therapeutical targets for obesity and neurodegenerative diseseases.
What do you plan to do once you finish your doctorate?
Ali: I think finishing the PhD is just the beginning of my research line to study and understand cancer. My priority is to generate new testable ideas and scientific questions to decode the cancer dilemma.
Alba: For sure celebrate with family, friends and laboratory colleagues and then keep working to conclude some experiments and hopefully an article. I would like to keep working in neuroscience, endocannabinoid system and orexin but for sure continue my scientific career with new goals and experiences to live.
Cnr - Istituto di chimica biomolecolare
Via Campi Flegrei, 34
80078 Pozzuoli (Napoli)