The PathSense network gives us the opportunity to do secondments during the PhD. I did the first one in AquilaBioscience, National University of Ireland, Galway, under the supervision of Dr Marta Utratna. This spin-out company is developing innovative applications of glycoscience for detecting and identifying pathogen contamination in water. AquilaBioscience uses its expertise to also disrupt pathogen-host cells interactions using glycans and lectins.

For the first time, I have been exposed to a start-up environment and I could gain insight into the realities of running a small biotechnology business such as funding journey, Intellectual Property protection, the team growth and developing a network of contacts.

The goal of my secondment was to study with microarray technology whether specific cell surface proteins regulated by the stressosome promote Listeria monocytogenes binding to specific glycans and lectins.