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"I quickly fell in love with Stockholm, the Swedish lifestyle and mindset"

Dorinês Rosário is a graduate of the joint master's programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science. When graduating she moved on to PhD studies at King’s College in London.

What made you decide to start studying at KTH?

In 2014 I did my exchange to Karolinska Institute for six months. I quickly fell in love with Stockholm, the Swedish lifestyle and mindset, the educational system and others that work in Sweden. I liked my life in Stockholm, and this made me decide back then that I wanted to continue my studies there. 

By that time I made terrific friends, some studying at KI others at KTH, which made me learn about the prestige of KTH. I wanted a programme that would provide me with a strong background in Life Sciences and molecular biology, and this was at the same time that the Molecular Techniques in Life Science programme was about to open for the first time. I wanted the Engineering and Biotechnology knowledge from KTH, with the frontiers in Life Science from KI and natural sciences from SU; the best of three worlds. I was lucky enough to be admitted, and it was the best two years of my life in so many aspects.

What does your current job involve? How do you use the knowledge and skills you gained during your studies?
Since April ’18 I am doing my PhD at the Centre for the Host-Microbiome Department, at the Dental Institute at King’s College London. My project is in Systems Biology of Host-Microbiome interactions in Neurodegenerative Diseases, mainly focused on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. 

My master thesis was my first step into the microbiota and host metabolism field. Something that really interests me and thanks to my master’s association to ScilifeLab and the collaboration between the three universities, I had the opportunity to do my thesis with Adil Mardinoglu group, a Systems Biology group from KTH, based at SciLife Lab.

The classes of the programme and the coding, bioinformatics, proteomics, analysis of high-throughput data and frontiers in Life Science provided me with the best background to be capable of designing my PhD project. At the moment I am processing and doing a downstream analysis of metagenomics data from Parkinson’s patients and applying Systems Biology approaches to modelling and networking in my project.

What do you see as the most significant aspects of your programme?
The skills in programming, dealing and treating ‘omics data - the processing of it and the statistic analysis, bioinformatic pipelines that we learn. These are the most significant ones for me and that have been highly useful in my progress during my PhD.

What kind of career opportunities are available in your field?
PhD studies is always an option after being a student at such universities and institutions. Besides that, it is possible to be working as a research assistant/engineer, while planning things for future steps - and that is what I did. I stayed a few months with Adil’s group working as a research engineer. And then there is a lot of opportunities in industry, pharmaceutical companies and others. Starting a career in the computational biology field provides a lot of opportunities since the area is increasing and the number of people with the right background in it is still far behind.

How did your studies at KTH differ compared to your previous experiences?
Is surprising how non-hierarchical the system is. Naming professors by their first name give a feeling of inclusion and that the institution cares for you and your success as a student, as a future professional and as a person. That is very important. 

The support online, the quantity and quality of available materials for studying is outstanding. Just as an example, we had a student account and access to a server of a supercomputer during some of our courses. This is another level of Education! The trust that the university has in us and the opportunities provided. 

I have met scientists that I never thought I would have the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with if I was not for this master’s programme.

Do you have any inside tips to students considering KTH for their master's degree studies?
Work on those cover and motivation letters! When admitted I assure you will have some of the best years as a student and you will have opportunities of doing projects and thesis at research groups that you never thought possible. A lot of good science is happening at KTH and SciLife Lab. The university wants you to succeed, and they will support you in everything by providing the best and latest tools.