Sarah and Adithya: from the USA to Rheinbach with RISE

Monday 24 July 2017
This year in June, the lab of Stem Cell Biology at the Department of Natural Sciences welcomed two DAAD research interns through the "Research in Science and Engineering Programme" (RISE) to Rheinbach Campus. Adithya Kannan and Sarah Webster are working with PhD candidates Patrick Ottensmeyer and Patrick Babczyk in the lab of Professor Edda Tobiasch investigating stem cell differentiation.
Rise-Stipendiaten Webster und Kannan mit Doktoranden im Stem Cell Lab
Sarah Webster and Adithya Kannan with their mentors Patrick Babczyk and Patrick Ottensmeyer. Photo: AnNa

Text by Patrick Ottensmeyer, German version: doppelpunkt: online

Webster and Kannan came out on top of 33 applicants, from the USA, Canada and the UK, which chose to work at the Hochschule Bonn-Rhein Sieg, University of Applied Sciences in Rheinbach. Overall 1562 students applied for one of the 300 stipends that were offered.

Adithya is a second year biomedical engineering student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ, USA, where he participated in research on induced pluripotent stem cells in the lab of Prof. Pandey. Having spent his entire life in the New York City area, he is excited to spend the summer in Germany conducting stem cell research on human adult stem cells for the first time. Within the lab of Edda Tobiasch he investigates the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) towards osteoblasts. More precise he focusses on the interplay of purinergic signaling with the processing of ATP during differentiation.

Research and learning about German culture and history

Sarah is a rising fourth year student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, USA, where she will complete a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with minors in German and Stem Cell Sciences. While Sarah has three years of stem cell research experience prior to participating in the DAAD RISE programme, this summer she is increasing her knowledge about isolation, culturing, differentiation, and analyzation of human MSCs derived from adipose tissue. 

Outside of the lab, Adithya and Sarah are excited to experience the culture of North Rhine-Westphalia and surrounding areas. When asked why he chose to conduct research in Germany, Adithya said, "I’m particularly interested in the history of the area, so many significant people and events originated so close to where I’m living this summer. I feel lucky for the opportunity to learn new science and new culture, and it will definitely serve me well as I continue my undergraduate studies."

Sarah agreed and added, "It is a scientific and historical hub that I have wanted to study in from my first days at university. As I continued to learn the language, it seemed inevitable that I would make a trip here, but to combine that with research has been incredible. We are both lucky to have the opportunity to work in Professor Tobiasch’s lab as the work is interesting and her PhD students are great mentors."