From gene therapy to developing wearable biosensors, several NYU Abu Dhabi students made significant scientific contributions during internships at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Italy and India.
Pursuing coursework in molecular biology and biochemistry at NYUAD, the students worked alongside scientists in ICGEB research labs, where they gained invaluable experience in projects related to their fields of study.
The program allowed students to select their research areas of interest and apply to the lab of their choice for an internship position, where they were actively involved in the lab’s research activity for up to two months.
In addition to learning useful laboratory techniques first-hand, the students have the chance to experience the everyday workings of a vibrant laboratory, which in turn helps them make informed career decisions about their desire to work in science and research.
“We are grateful to partner with ICGEB to provide invaluable summer undergraduate research opportunities for NYUAD Biology and Bioengineering majors. The real-world experience in such a prominent international research institution enriches the students’ academic experience, hones their practical skills, and propels them towards success in their professional careers or preparation for graduate school,” said Carol Brandt, Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor of Global Education and Outreach.
“ICGEB is delighted to have this wonderful collaboration with NYUAD. The students are incredibly motivated and a joy to have in the labs. We are convinced that this collaboration is directly contributing to fostering the development of the next generation of world leading scientists,” Lawrence Banks, Director-General of ICGEB, said.
The NYUAD student interns came from Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Slovakia and UAE. Here are some testimonials from the students working in the labs:
Confidence Ezemba, Class of 2025:
“My work focused on the dissection of cancer signaling pathways and their role in shaping the tumor microenvironment, in order to unveil actionable targets and ways to hit them. I also received amazing support from other members of the lab, including Meni Guissouegou, a PhD student and NYUAD alum. My experience in the lab further solidified my passion for medicine and biomedical research! I am grateful for the new connections I made, the new places I visited, the failures, successes and the advice I got along the way.”
Safeeya Alawadi, Class of 2023:
“My engineering background, coupled with the valuable experience gained at ICGEB, has equipped me with essential skills in synthetic biology, enabling me to build sophisticated biosensors that seamlessly interface with the human body. I am driven by the desire to make a positive impact on healthcare and enhance the lives of those living with chronic conditions.”
Tomiris Doskhozhina, Class of 2025:
"During my summer research experience at ICGEB, I explored the intersection of biophysics and tissue engineering fields. With the supervision of Dr. Giulio Ciucci, I investigated the impact of tunable mechanical loading on the proliferation of lung carcinoma, melanoma, and colorectal cancer cells. As an in-vitro model, we utilized neonatal cardiomyocytes to engineer heart tissue that has the ability to beat, providing valuable insights into the growth dynamics of cancer cells inside this tissue. The experience allowed me to work in a tight-knot research team and boost my confidence in lab techniques and safety procedures, which I look forward to applying for future research opportunities."
NYUAD and ICGEB have signed an MOU to continue pursuing activities in fields that allow the two institutions to promote learning, inclusivity, and education. The program was part of an ongoing research internship initiative that will promote exchange and knowledge sharing between the two research institutions.