Spanish student through Erasmus+ program at DIfE

On July 18, the team of the Junior Research Group Neurocircuit Development and Function welcomed the Spanish Master student Miguel Ángel Serrano Lope. The 23-year-old comes from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and is doing a three-month internship at DIfE funded by the Erasmus+ program.

Dr. Lídia Cantacorps Centellas and Miguel Ángel Serrano Lope

The internship is organized by CERFA, the Society of Spanish Scientists in Germany. As an applicant for an Erasmus internship, Miguel Serrano received a list from CERFA with available projects. Since Dr. Lídia Cantacorps Centellas, postdoctoral researcher in the Junior Research Group Neurocircuit Development and Function (NDF) at DIfE, had committed herself to hosting a student from a Spanish university as part of the CERFA internship program, her project was also on the list. And that convinced the young Spaniard. "I decided to apply to DIfE because the topic was related to what I was already working on," Serrano says, "I thought it might be interesting to look at how diabetes affects the development of the nervous system."

He had a conversation with Lídia Cantacorps, who then decided to accept him into the NDF lab and serve as his supervisor. "I chose Miguel because he is a really good fit for our team," she says, "He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and is pursuing a master's degree in molecular biomedicine. He also has previous experience with molecular techniques and microscopy - exactly what we were looking for."

During his internship, Serrano is involved in a DZD project studying the effects of metformin treatment in gestational diabetes on the development of brain circuitry in the offspring. To decipher the mechanisms of action of this antidiabetic drug, the researchers are using a mouse model as well as biochemical and molecular techniques. In Madrid, Serrano has already worked on a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes, gaining skills and knowledge that will be very helpful in carrying out this project.

Erasmus+ is an EU program that promotes Europe-wide cooperation in all areas of education.

"I want to learn as much as I can about the topic the NDF is working on, gain expertise in new molecular techniques and get to know the scientific lifestyle in Germany," Serrano explains. But the benefits are not just on one side. "I think that hosting an international trainee in our lab provides a benefit in terms of cross-cultural enrichment for the team," says Cantacorps.