My name is Daniel Ríos and I am a grad student at the ‘Instituto de Neurobiología (INB)’ from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. However, during this past October I was part of the ‘Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (INA)’, from the Miguel Hernandez University, in Spain. Ok, I was there just for a short time working on a collaboration project, but I was taken care of so well that it only took a couple of days for me to feel part of the community.
Thanks to a Development traveling fellowship, I visited the María Dominguez lab to start a collaboration project between her lab and Juan Riesgo’s lab, of which I am part of. María has a very solid group working on growth control in the fruit fly. Among other things, her group studies the larval brain as a model to understand tumorigenesis. In the figure below, I show a larval brain lobe stained to reveal neural precursor cells (green). The proliferation of these cells is under control of various signaling networks and transcription factors, and this provides a useful model to understand growth and its regulation. In this internship, we explored the role of tumor suppressor genes during brain tumorigenesis in Drosophila larvae, and wether they act in the same way during neural development in the embryo.
For me, this was a very enriching experience in many different ways. First, this was my first time crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and the longest time I have ever been away from Mexico. Also, I could really experience how science is done everyday in a different country, and third, I had the opportunity to meet great people from other parts of the world that share common interests to mine.
Finally, with this experience I could really see the “universality” of science. Even though it took a while for me to learn even how to use the laundry machine properly at my flat, or when and where would be possible to find an open supermarket, in the lab I felt that I knew exactly what I had to do and how to do it (with some orientation from the people of the lab, of course). In more technical terms, this was a great chance to broaden my PhD thesis and to receive feedback about it, and also to exchange fly stocks, protocols, and conduct lively science discussions. In our group, we will start to characterize the neural phenotype of mutant lines isolated in our lab, both during embryonic development and during larval stages, and keep on collaborating with the Dominguez lab in this same regard. Once again, I thank the Company of Biologists for their support, and I encourage students to take this exceptional opportunity.