EAVI2020 Students in Focus: Athina Kilpeläinen (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)
Throughout the past four years, the students of EAVI2020 have worked tirelessly in The Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. This is a work package of the EAVI2020 project dedicated to the employment and training of young scientists in Europe. It comprises of scientific fellowships, student exchange, wet workshops, and a PhD Programme to maximise the training of the next generation of young scientists in the field of vaccine development. It is now time we shine a positive spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme, lessons learned and what they hope to achieve moving beyond EAVI2020s. ‘EAVI2020 Students in Focus’ will be a regular news feature so be sure to subscribe to the EAVI2020 newsletter to get the latest updates. In this issue, we feature Yoann Aldon and Athina Kilpelïnen.
During the EAVI2020 training program, I was given the chance to present my work orally and discuss my findings and conclusions with fellow students. This provided me with the opportunity to improve my presentation skills as well as receive valuable scientific input and advice. During the training program, I have had the chance to partake in practical courses and learn new laboratory methods. These experiences have been highly fruitful and will be highly beneficial to my scientific career. This has been the most rewarding part, aside from the relationships I’ve been able to build thanks to the program. As an EAVI2020 PhD student, I was given the opportunity to move to Barcelona (Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR)) all the way from Stockholm (Karolinska Institutet). It has been a great experience overall, discovering a new culture, meeting new people and being welcomed into a new research laboratory. Furthermore, being a part of the consortium, I was able to expand my research network and build relationships with scientists at all stages in the field, aside from just PhD students. This will be a great benefit in the next stage of my scientific career as a postdoctoral researcher. I strongly recommend taking part in a PhD training course like the one arranged in the EAVI2020. My advice would be to not be afraid to ask questions or interact with fellow students.
You can see Athina speak as a panellist in the EAVI2020 webinar titled, Developing an effective #HIV vaccine: what do we need and when will we get there?