Sofia Trampari’s secondment at Novartis


What is the purpose of this secondment?

The purpose of my secondment in NOVARTIS was first of all to experience the industrial point of view of research and also to apply the HiLiDe method to a GPCR target. GPCRs are membrane proteins and therefore hard to crystallize and study their structure.

What added value(s) do you think this secondment will bring to your PhD?

During my secondment I learned many techniques and methods that not only they will help me to my PhD project, but also they broaden the way of my thinking. The interaction with people from industry also gave me the opportunity to think science from a different point of view. Working efficiently in limited timeline for a project is for sure one of the greatest values that this secondment taught me.

What do you miss most from your home institute/city?

Academia and industry have some common points but at meantime they are very different. NOVARTIS was fully equipped and the support of my supervisor was really  helpful, so I didn’t really miss many things. However, what I missed the most from my home institute were my colleagues and the independency that academia provides in my project evolution.

How is the city you’re staying in? What would you recommend to anyone visiting?

Basel is a great city with rich landscape beauty. Because of its geographic position, it is on the borders of Switzerland, Germany and France, it is full of diversities as far as the language and the culture is concerned. The historical center, the zoo and the Rhyne are definitely the places I would suggest someone to visit. There are also many medieval castles at the hills that is an amazing opportunity to visit and travel through time.

Would you prefer to spend more or less time in your secondment as to the research work you are doing/ had to do? 

I believe that the period that I spent in my secondment was enough to fulfill my experiments and goals. If I could, I would definitely like to spend a little more time so I can learn even more techniques and try Cryo EM experiments

If it was possible, would you like to go back? If yes, how long? What for?

Even though the project of my secondment has been completed. There are several reasons that I would really like to return. First of all to meet and work again with the people that I collaborated. Secondly to expand this project and try some Cryo EM experiments on the GPCR target in complex with various components and other proteins. Furthermore, If I had the opportunity, I would like to try some lipidic cubic phase crystallization set up on these targets.