For my MSc thesis I wanted to have a project that was somehow related to the medical field. Via the nematology chair group I got the opportunity to go to the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation in Glasgow to work with proteins from the parasitic nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus.
This nematode is used as a gastrointestinal parasitic model in immunological studies. Somehow this nematode can alter the immune system of the host in such a way that it can establish itself in the gut. I studied how secreted proteins from H. polygyrus affect immune cells of mice. Both cell lines and cells derived from bone marrow were used. I did a lot of cell culturing, so for six months I could improve my techniques on working sterile, careful cell handling and transfection of cells to produce recombinant proteins. At the beginning it was hard to understand how the immune system works as there are many many cytokines and immune cells that all play a role and can have an effect on each other. But the weekly meetings with the group and some seminars on immunology made that I could learn a lot about this topic. Overall, I learned a lot theoretically and practically and I really enjoyed my time at the nice research group. And living in such a beautiful country made the experience even better!