Master of Science in Biomolecular Sciences
From next academic year (2018-2019) onwards the Master in Biomolecular Sciences and the Master in Molecular Biology will merge into one high-level scientific programme with strong multidisciplinary courses that intertwine theoretical formation with research-oriented skills. This new Interuniversity Master of Science in Molecular Biology (2 year, 120 ECTS) is jointly organised by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KULeuven and University of Antwerp.
After my Erasmus exchange at the VUB, I decided to apply for the Master in Biomolecular Sciences. The diversified programme broadened my scientific horizons and was the perfect choice after finishing a Bachelor in Biotechnology at the University of Gdansk in Poland. During practical trainings I was introduced to many new laboratory techniques and got an overview of scientific work at VUB. The one-year master project was a great opportunity to gain experience in independent laboratory work. I’ve been living here for three years and I am now working at the laboratory. So my story at VUB continues…”
Natalia Smiejkowska, alumna and researcher at Lab of Myeloid Cell Immunology, VIB-VUB
Being from Canada and having completed my Bachelor degree there, it was not long after that I sought international opportunities to broaden both my scientific and cultural views. With this in mind I chose to partake in the Master of Science in Biomolecular Sciences.Combining people of several different cultures to explore several different facets of science had not only evoked my curiosity but allowed me to develop valuable skills (perseverance, techniques, etc.) and to refine my interests. Armed with these assets, upon completion of the program I immediately transitioned into life as a PhD candidate. I have spent the last several years investigating various inflammation associated pathologies in an attempt to develop more effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. This is just the beginning to a world of possibilities!
Amanda Sparkes, PhD student
During the practical trainings of the master programme in Biomolecular Sciences, I discovered a very attractive specificity, the field of Cancer Immunology. I succeeded in doing my master dissertation in this research topic. That was a really hard year, with long, tiring experiments. However, believe it or not, doing research gave me so much knowledge, experience and strength that in the end I just kept trying until I had interesting results.
After finishing this master, my only wish was to become a PhD student which was definitely related to the proposed topic by my promoter: “Macrophages, the top regulators of immune responses, induce cancer growth and metastasis”. The depletion of these pro-tumoral macrophages could be a novel cancer therapy. My desire to work in this field as a PhD candidate and the support of my promoter and my colleagues led me to my situation now: IWT-granted-PhD student wishing to help research in a four-year-period of time. To conclude, what I learned as a foreign student is that if you really want something, struggle for it. Nothing is impossible with the only prerequisites... desire and a bit of luck.
Evangelia BOLLI, PhD student
My interest in embryonic development initiated while following the Master in Biomolecular Sciences program. Fundamental questions of developmental biology, such as the mechanisms that drive cell differentiation and morphogenesis, attracted my attention and directed me to discover the fascinating world of the developing embryo in terms of cell polarization, axis formation and patterning, all directed by complex regulatory mechanisms of gene expression. I decided to join the Developmental and Stem cell biology group (Prof. Luc Leyns), in which I did my master thesis and continued with a PhD. In the lab, we are focusing on the identification and functional characterization of novel genes that are involved in early developmental stages. We are using mouse Embryonic Stem cells as a model of the early stage embryo and genome editing techniques to alter the expression of genes that could play a role in the differentiation towards the mesodermal or neural fates. Our research aims to add pieces to the molecular puzzle that lies under the complex mechanism of germ layer formation and patterning.
Eleni Dakou, PhD student