Research Training Group 2154 - Materials for Brain

Christina Schmitt (at University of Liège, Belgium)

Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy (LTPB), Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines (CIRM), University of Liège, Belgium (08.10. -21.12.2018)

My project focusses on the investigation of material-specific reactions of healthy brain cells and tissue towards different implant materials. As part of this, I am highly interested in the inflammatory and glial scarring processes that occur in response to implant materials as well as methods to decrease this material-specific reactions towards the implants. Different anti-inflammative and glial scarring compounds have been tested for this purpose, whereas they suffer in efficiency due to their instability and low bioavailability. Since the laboratory of Prof. Piel from the University of Liège is highly specialized on innovative drug carriers, their solubility and modified release, my aim for this stay abroad was to find a suitable carrier for these drugs, that may increase the drugs’ bioavailability, stability and penetration into the cells and therefore decrease the amount of drug needed as well as its cytotoxic effects. During my time in Belgium, I not only gained methodical expertise in liposome production, physicochemical characterization as well as experimental designs for release- and long-term stability studies, but also practical experience in working under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) conditions, as well as in a highly interdisciplinary field. Since Liège is a Walloon city, the overall language is French, so that I could not only improve my professional English but also my French skills. The group of Prof. Geraldine Piel was supportive, constructive and always very helpful, so that I felt not only very well supervised, but also part of the team. The work of the past 3 months will definitely help me to progress in my PhD project. It was a great chance to make new contacts, learn new techniques, improve language skills, travel a bit around on weekends and make new friends. I would highly encourage everyone in taking a chance for a stay abroad since it widens your perspective and helps to develop oneself further.