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EAVI2020 Students in Focus Revisited

Bookshelves with an old door in the middle and overlaid text: eavi2020 students in focus

We revisit some of our past Students in Focus to see where they are now and how their EAVI2020 experiences have helped them along the way.

We continue to be very proud and celebrate the successes of the early career researchers who took part in our Continuing Education & Training in HIV vaccine development programme. Over the past year, our EAVI2020 Students in Focus series has shone a spotlight on the students to hear from them about their experience in the programme. Here, we catch up with Athina, Philipp, Narcis, Yoann, and Dominik.

girl with blonde hair smiling as she holds her winter coat Athina Kilpelainen is now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, with much of her work shifting to focus on studying SARS-CoV-2 T-cell immunology in response to the pandemic. ‘[From EAVI2020] I have learned the value of networking and learning from others in the field, both students and PIs alike. I plan to continue working in research, learning, and hopefully contributing to the scientific community as much as I can.’  Read Athina’s original feature. 
bespectacled young man in a blue sweater smiling Philipp Mundsperger is finishing his PhD and continuing to work at Polymun Scientific, Austria in the field of recombinant protein production. Working with such a great group [EAVI2020] shows once again that collaboration and team spirit are inevitable tools to success. When I try to picture my future self, I’d like to see someone still being curious about nature and being passionate about what he does. But, on the short run, I’ll try to keep it simple and finish my PhD first!’  Read Philipp’s original feature. 
Profile of Narcis Saubi Narcis Saubi (VHIR) is starting a new project to see if human recombinant BCG immunogenicity can be tested in non-human primates while exploring new options in vaccine R&D. ‘Working at EAVI2020 consortium has strongly confirmed how important it is to establish networks. To be part of a group where there are experts in so many different fields, and with such amazing expertise, makes you feel under the scope… The [future] plans are finding a place where to go to work with all the illusion every morning, where to feel the excitement for the new results, and to come back home proud of what I’ve done.’  Read Narcis’ original feature. 
a young man in a black shirt smiling After completing his Ph.D., Yoann Aldon had the opportunity to start a postdoc in Prof Rogier Sanders’ group in Amsterdam focussing on germline-targeting vaccine strategies for HIV-1, while also responding to the pandemic ‘our efforts have been steered away from HIV for a while… and a great amount of work has been and still is being achieved as a scientific community to better understand immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and the virus’ evolution.”  Read Yoann’s original feature.
Dominik Damm at University Hospital in Erlangen, Germany, hopes to complete his cumulative PhD thesis at the end of 2021, and has recently submitted his second first-author paper.  ‘In parallel, I am preparing a fellowship application to go abroad as a postdoc. Since I would like to stay in the field of HIV vaccine research, the EAVI2020 program helped me to build a network of collaboration partners, mentors, and advisors, which may promote my prospect of getting a grant or fellowship.’  Read Dominik’s original feature. 

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