ESDR: What was the purpose of your visit?
My primary goal was to learn in vitro kinetic assays for testing antiproteolityc activity of recombinant proteins. As well, I aimed to learn generating a lentiviral vector for subsequent over-expression of a gene of interest.

ESDR: How was the experience of your visit and what key things did you take back to your department?
I worked for two fantastic months in the laboratory of Genetic Skin Diseases directed by Prof. Alain Hovnanian at the IMAGINE Institute for genetic diseases in Paris. With the outstanding help of Alain and his team, I could learn quickly new techniques and perform all the planned experiments. Since our results were very promising, afterwards I returned to Paris for another month to continue working on the project. The results of our collaboration were subsequently included into my manuscript, now submitted to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (currently under revision). Moreover, I was lucky to see patients with rare genetic skin diseases including epidermolysis bullosa, Netherton syndrome, Hailey-Hailey and Darier disease together with Prof. Hovnanian in his clinic.

ESDR: What is your research focus over the coming year?
At the moment, I am finalizing my PhD project, which describes a novel protein, associated with terminal keratinocyte differentiation. I plan to work further in the field of keratinocyte differentiation in parallel to my work in a hospital as a doctor.

ESDR: Any other thoughts you wish to share?
I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to gain new skills and data, which greatly supported my PhD project. It was a pure pleasure to work with Prof. Hovnanian and his team, the world-recognized professionals in the field of genetic skin diseases.

Despite long hours in the lab, I enjoyed beautiful streets, museums and of course restaurants in Paris. I strongly believe that a daily morning croissant dramatically improved my performance in the lab.