Scientist or Communicator: Part II – MSc and Ph.D.

28 April 2020


postdoctoral research

Blog by Fabiany da Costa Gonçalves, MSc & Ph.D.

This is the second blog of a series that will discuss the importance of scientific communication. Fabiany da Costa Gonçalves is a scientific researcher at Erasmus Medical Center and she will write about her experiences in the medical sciences area. In this second blog, Fabiany will give you an overview of her research with animal models during her MSc and Ph.D.

After graduation from university, I knew that I wanted to pursue a scientific career, mainly in the medical sciences. All levels of investigation are necessary to obtain a complete description and understanding of the mechanisms involved in several diseases. The in vitro approach allows the understanding of the mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level, such as cell culture or 3D complex tissue structures. On the other hand, the investigation of physiological functions and systemic interactions between organs requires the entire organism.

Animals can be used in many fields of science to predict human outcomes. Scientists are in a position to promote public dialogue on the use of animals in basic research. Public engagement allows the development of socially acceptable scientific practices and the improvement of ethical supervision and regulations.

I developed my Master’s and my doctorate in Gastroenterology Science focusing on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. They are characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. However, there is currently no cure for IBD. For this reason, I learned how to perform the induction of IBD in animal models to search for new therapies, such as stem cell therapy.

In this study, we supported the concept of using stem cell therapy to treat patients with IBD based on the result of the animal model. Currently, several clinical trials have been carried out addressing cell treatment in patients with IBD.

It is essential to inform the lay public about the need for experimental models for research in medical science and the lack of alternative models. The use of animals is supported by the public when it is clearly communicated that there are significant benefits for humans with severe diseases, and this is done with high ethical standards.

The discovery of new effective therapies often starts in a laboratory. Although carried out in a laboratory facility and generally not primarily aimed at curing the disease, basic science is nevertheless essential to achieve treatment success in patients.

Thank you Fabiany for sharing your insights about your career as a scientific researcher within the medical science industry! In the next blog (Part III – Postdoctoral research), Fabiany will report her experiences as a postdoc researcher and how important it was to develop communication skills during her career. Stay tuned!


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