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Brazilian IPN Students and Post-docs

Bruno De Siqueira Mietto – PhD Sandwich student, Centre for Research in Neuroscience

As a Brazilian PhD-sandwich student in the “Science Without Borders” program, I was lucky enough to spend a year in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at McGill University, Montreal. The fundamental reason for choosing the IPN at McGill was to broaden my research skills in one of the best universities in the world, and the IPN definitely provides this unique environment for professional development. At the IPN we are always attending high-quality seminars, meeting world leading scientists and sharing our ideas and knowledge with brilliant students and post-docs.

Furthermore, the IPN facilities and laboratories offer cutting edge equipment that is essential to strengthen our studies, and we are always welcome to use it. As a PhD student, I truly believe that intellectual improvement is the right way to reach professional excellence, and the IPN at McGill, offers the best environment for that. So, I would certainly encourage more students from my home country to come to McGill to not only improve their scientific research skills, but also to experience this amazing cultural city. In addition, being involved in this doctorate “sandwich” we are helping to fine tune the quality of science in Brazil, mainly because we return home extremely well trained and with established fruitful collaborations with other research groups. Finally, it is also important to highlight that this program “Science Without Borders” is a good opportunity for the prospective PhD-sandwich students to receive a scholarship that allows the student to live comfortably in Montreal and enjoy everything that this lovely city has to offer.

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Ronan Vinícius da Silva – D1 – Neural Circuit Development Group / Institut de Recherches Clinique de Montréal

I first wanted to study at McGill University because of the simple wish to live in Montreal, a cosmopolitan city rich with every kind of culture. However, I came to find much more than that. Being interested in the field of neuroscience, it did not take long to know the Integrated Program in Neuroscience, the biggest and one of the best evaluated graduate programs in this field.

The IPN has more than 180 affiliate professors, distributed in many research institutes throughout the city. There is a researcher for every taste and interest! Even more, the IPN offers a chance to unite these professionals, creating possibilities for collaboration in projects impossible anywhere else. It would not be too much to say that the limit is your imagination! The administrative staff is another strength of the program, providing support in anything. Can't find a supervisor? Write them an e-mail! Do you have difficulties with your visa process? Send them your questions! Do you have toothache and don't know where to find a dentist? The super dedicated IPN staff seeks to help us in whatever need they have. I have been studying abroad for the last 6 years, period during which I studied at two different highly-regarded institutions in another country, and I never experienced this type of attention before. This is really making adapting to this new place very easy. I have been in the program for no more than three months, but I am already sure that joining it was one of my best decisions so far.

Ricardo Alchini – D2 – Centre for Neuronal Survival/ Montreal Neurological Institute

I am finishing my third semester at the IPN, and my experience here has been pretty fruitful so far. In addition to the guaranteed stipend from the IPN, which is already enough to live comfortably, the program supported me in my application to several scholarships. These scholarships not only supplement our income, but the application process helps us to improve our writing skills and consolidate our research project.

Most supervisors here are usually very present in the students’ life. They help us with the necessary paperwork, and try to closely monitor our progress. As there are many research institutes within walking distance from the Neuro, collaborations are something pretty common. My supervisor has introduced me to several renowned researchers, who have always turned out to be very helpful and frequently give me very insightful suggestions. This cooperative environment speeds up the science production and lets us lead our project to almost any direction we want: some specialist in your desired field/technique will always be available to help. In only one year, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with other 5 labs, mostly in the Neuro but also outside of Canada. I am already the co-author of one paper and I am finishing up another, now as first author. Being trained at “the Neuro” (Montreal Neurological Institute/MNI) will certainly help me to develop the communication and academic skills that I need to become a top researcher. In addition, Montreal is a very multicultural city, with a vibrant summer, full of free activities happening downtown during the festivals. And during the winter, we can either enjoy the winter sports (which are a lot of fun) or spend some cozy time indoors at home, dining out or enjoying the culture events around. Options are never a problem here!

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Omar de Faria Júnior – D3 – Brain Tumour Research Centre/ Montreal Neurological Institute

My name is Omar and I moved to Montreal (coming from Brazil) in 2010 to start my PhD at McGill-IPN. After almost 3 years studying abroad, I’m very confident saying that coming to the IPN was the right decision and that it has made a big difference to my training. At the IPN, we have access to the perfect infrastructure needed to do high-quality neuroscience.

Many facilities, such as the Animal Facility and the McGill / Genome Quebec institute, are really helpful in supporting and speeding up the process of doing research. Labs are well equipped and provide conditions to conduct almost every experiment you can think of. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many brilliant researchers, not only the ones that are professors in the program but also many others who come to visit the institute and give lectures. Here at the IPN, I’ve attended 2 Nobel winner lectures for example; also every Tuesday one prestigious international speaker comes to our institute to give a talk. Those are really inspiring lectures. Not surprisingly, labs and students publish in the top neuroscience journals. What’s more, Montreal is a very intense city and living here grants you the chance to meet people literally from all around the world. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a student in IPN and recommend anyone to come here for their studies.

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Adriana Freitas – Post-Doctoral Fellow – Centre for Neuronal Survival/ Montreal Neurological Institute

I did my postdoctoral studies at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) from 2005 to 2007. During all those years, I had access to a rich environment that welcomes people from around the world. The MNI facilities and laboratories offer a high-quality infrastructure that can be used by everyone. The dedicated scientists were always ready to help students and postdocs to move forward their research projects.

In my case, I had also the opportunity to collaborate with a group from the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) to learn a technique important to my research. However, the MNI is not only about infrastructure, lectures, seminars and scientific exchange. In my opinion, the MNI is also about the people that I met there. Scientists, technicians, postdocs and students from different parts of the world that were also sharing the experience of living abroad far from home and family in a bright and multicultural city. I do definitely recommend everyone to go to Montreal and to the MNI to live the experience by themselves.

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