Michaël Dong: September–November 2017

Together with my supervisor I planed a 2-month secondment in London in order to strenghten the collaboration with Damir (aka Sensei), by working together on the project and learn more from him and the others.

At the start of September, after my vacation in Ireland (to get used to the weather), I left for the UK.

1 hour of flight later…

I arrived in London, looking forward to familiarize with the place, meet with new people, learn new things, as well as visiting the city. My hope to see the sun again were quickly washed away by the rain and grey skies of the country. I suppose the definition of “good weather” is different there.

It's a beautiful rain and I can't stop myself from crying...
It’s a beautiful rain and I can’t stop myself from crying…

However, I was welcomed warmly by the members of the Computational Regulatory Genomics Team led by Boris Lenhart, at the Imperial College. A band of hot-blooded happy PhD students, post-docs, nonetheless fully motivated and devoted in their work, eager to learn, support and help, and open to new ideas. I was glad to meet them.

Enjoying dinner with the full Lenhard Lab... and Robert Pattinson!!! (sorry Dunja) Enjoying dinner with the full Lenhard Lab… and Robert Pattinson!!! (sorry Dunja)

The main goals of the secondment were:

  • To develop methods of quality control to filter and detect processed data with low mapping quality with the help of Damir
  • To set up trackhubs, for easier sharing of large amount of files and visualization on the DCC
  • To improve documentation of the DCC : details of pipeline, introduction of versionning, etc.
  • To work and learn in another environment : improving experience and work relations, learning from other members of the Boris Lab as well as other people through seminars and group meeting. Also getting support form other bioinformaticians for the project.

I worked with Sensei and pals at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences for 2 months. Some of the secondment plan objectives were achieved, others will be done later, after my return to Stockholm.

I also took the occasion to visit the most famous monuments of London: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (under maintenance though), London bridge, the Royal Air Force museum, the Science Museum and some regions in Sussex (Eastbourne).

I finally left London in November, tired and ready to use all those new skills gained, having expanded my friends, contacts and acquitainces repertoire, and to report to my supervisor.

Goodbye London :'( Goodbye London :’(

And there ends my secondment at Imperial College. In 2 months, I learned a lot, from data processing to analysis and quality control of transcriptomic datasets, but also socialized with the members of the team, and discovered a new culture. The only issue, in my opinion was that, for a first stay, those 2 months have been very long, if not too long.

I would like to thank Dr. Damir Baransic-sensei (I won’t regret the “tiramisoup”), Dr. Boris Lenhart and the rest of the Computational Regulatory Genomics team, for welcoming me in their office during this period and sharing with me their research experience.