Attending an EMBO practical course with a DMM Conference Travel Grant

1 February 2023

With the help of a DMM Conference Travel Grant, Jazib Shafiq was recently able to travel from Pakistan to attend the EMBO practical course on metabolite and species dynamics in microbial communities.

Jazib is a PhD student at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Pakistan. He is interested in the relationship between the gut microbiome and the nervous system, with a particular focus on anxiety-related behaviours, and his PhD research involves identifying metabolites that affect tryptophan metabolism in the gut and the brain. To support this work, Jazib has been seeking to expand his technical knowledge of metabolomics. He applied to the EMBO practical course because it offered an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into techniques and approaches for digging into microbial metabolite data.

The practical course took place at EMBL’s headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, in October 2022. The Company of Biologists supported Jazib’s attendance with a DMM Conference Travel Grant, which helped cover his travel costs. It was not Jazib’s first experience on an EMBO practical course, as he had previously attended courses in 2016 and 2018 focusing on whole genome sequencing and microbial metagenomics respectively. “This EMBO practical course on metabolic and species dynamics in microbial communities, as usual, exceeded my expectations,” Jazib said. “It consisted of more than 50% experimental work, and the training modules covered basic concepts as well as advanced troubleshooting.”

The course has had a direct impact on Jazib’s doctoral studies. “I am currently performing untargeted metabolomics using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with the help of the skills and knowledge I gained from this training,” he explained. “After these experiments, I will publish my work and give my PhD defence. I am thankful to the EMBL, EMBO, The Company of Biologists, Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, and IUBMB, as they provided me the opportunity to learn, collaborate and network with researchers from across the world. Most of the work I have done for my PhD would not have been possible without their support.”

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