If I were to say it in a few words it would be: “Moving Forward”. Advancing and making progress in different ways and directions has been the motto of my first year as an Independent Investigator at the Lund Stem Cell Center. The transition from being a postdoctoral researcher in the United States to being a Group Leader in Sweden has been extremely exciting with a plenty of new challenges and a constellation of small and big achievements along the way.
First and foremost, I had to adjust my mindset from being a solo performer to be the leader of a research program. This came with a whole new set of responsibilities including administrative and mentoring duties. The transition has canalized a lot of my energies to face everyday small and big obstacles involved in building a new laboratory from scratch. A year has gone by and results are clearly noticeable as the lab is up-and-running and, most importantly, I made good progress toward my research goals.
Besides stuffing the lab with all the necessary equipment, one of the most important and challenging tasks has been creating a cohesive group of lab members. This has meant reaching out for compatible skills and potentials of young and more experience scientists. I was fortunate to spot some highly motivated students, which I could directly train and engage in the scientific projects currently ongoing in my laboratory. Despite some initial difficulties, this has been a very interesting experience. It is really rewarding to follow the progres of very promising young scientists. I definitely look forward to mentor them as graduate students in my laboratory over the next four years. Another very good news is the upcoming arrival of two talented post-doctoral fellows from Poland and Chile, who will join my group to study the contribution of impairments in specific noncoding RNA molecules toward stem cell dysfunction and cancer development.
Things are also moving forward within the Lund research community as my group recently joined the new Division of Molecular Hematopoiesis lead by Professor Mikael Sigvardsson. I am very happy with the possibility of being a member of the vibrant scientific environment at the Lund Stem Cell Center. This has been very inspiring and has given me the opportunity to establish strong and synergist interactions with other principal investigators leader in the fields of hematopoiesis and stem cell biology. This is particularly important as I am developing novel ideas to broaden my horizons, which I intend to gradually develop into new exciting line of research within the next years. Toward this end, the support of the Ragnar Södebergs Stiftelse will be instrumental to continue pushing the boundaries of my field by studying how perturbation in key aspects of RNA biology alter stem cell fitness contributing to human disease.