Maša Zupančič

Erasmus+ traineeship at Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Published: 18. may. 2021

After the cancellation of my summer internship in the last year of my master studies due to COVID-19 epidemic, I was happy to learn it was possible to carry it out even after the graduation. So, I sought another opportunity and started my internship in January this year, when I was already a PhD student. It took place in Austria, in a town Mondsee, at the Research Department for Limnology – a part of University of Innsbruck. The primary reasons for my choice were their field of research and the possibility to work with a researcher highly experienced in molecular ecology and evolution of cyanobacteria; a topic that aligns well with my PhD research. As I cooperated with this researcher already during my master thesis, he offered me to perform a part of the research in their lab.

Despite all the epidemic-related restrictions, the hosting institution ensured I had a proper training and help at any step of my work there. The aim of our experiments was to evaluate the cyanotoxic potential in Alpine lakes and rivers using different molecular methods. In the course of the internship, I performed a PCR screening for cyanotoxin genes on over 300 samples from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. These results will be the basis for further analyses with quantitative PCR, digital PCR and sequencing technologies, which I will continue to perform in cooperation with Austrian researchers. Besides lab work, I attended various seminars, conferences and workshops, broadening not only my practical but also theoretical knowledge. Even though it seemed impossible at first with the ongoing epidemic, I managed to gain some valuable experience abroad that will help me in my future research career.

Zupancic Erasmus

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