Alessandra Petrelli’s secondment in Milan

‘Autumn in the Netherlands is characterized by unsettled weather’. This is what I was told when I first arrived in Utrecht! Being southern Italian, I rapidly started thinking to a way to still enjoy nice sunny days before the onset of winter. That’s how I ended up in a fruitful collaboration with the Milan Group! It’s a joke, of course!

The truth is that last summer I had preliminary interesting data on a cell population enriched in the synovial fluid of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis that seemed to be highly cytotoxic, thus a good potential candidate for a cell-depletion strategy. However, phenotypic and functional characterization of the population of interest at a single cell level was still missing. Being aware of the over 20-year experience of Maria Grazia Roncarolo and Manuela Battaglia’s group (PIs-ESR08) in single cell T cell cloning, Berent and I thought that a secondment in Milan would have been a good opportunity to learn this technique for the whole Prakken’s group and for my project itself. Then I spent 2 months (Sept and Oct 2013) at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan and, thanks to Maria Grazia and Manuela’s tips I was able to generate single cell clones of the population of interest. I want to thank also Bechara (ESR08) for his help in the lab and for the nice collaboration we set up.

Financially everything went surprisingly smooth: expenses for 2-month room and board were pretty high but I was fully reimbursed by the EUtrain grant.

To conclude, I fully suggest to go on a secondment in other Institutes within the Eutrain Network. It’s fun and useful for your projects!

Alessandra Petrelli (ESR02).


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