I am Kelly Blust (ESR 11) working at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm. I was born in Dresden, Germany and I have completed my education in Germany at the University of Rostock and Halle. Now enjoying Sweden very much! I like walking with my dog in the pure Swedish landscape, it’s a perfect way to relax after work; as well as swimming in the sea during summer, which is warmer than you think. 😉 During the cold and dark winter, I am enjoying cross-country skiing in the north of Sweden where, if lucky enough, you can see some reindeers, I was!

My project within STACCATO

My PhD topic is about stem cell differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to pancreatic tissue in a 3D cell culture system based on recombinant spider silk. With my project, I aim to develop methods for 3D culturing of human embryonic stem cells and differentiation to pancreatic tissue using recombinant spider silk. I perform validation on differentiated pancreatic tissue using single cell analysis to establish a protocol for the maturation of the different pancreatic cells (alpha, beta, etc). STACCATO gives me this great opportunity to use a novel technique of single cell transcriptome analysis BD RhapsodyTM to analyse gene expression of every single cell in differentiated pancreatic. I´m looking forward to going to NIRBT in Dublin for my secondment to learn more bioinformatic. I am very glad to be a part of this European Industrial PhD program due to good networking, many interesting courses e.g. about Entrepreneurship and finding collaborations and friends for life!

Falling WALLS lab Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

“Which are the next walls to fall in science and society? Discover future breakthroughs!“ #Falling Walls

The Falling Walls competition is a world-class pitching event, networking forum and global platform for outstanding innovators from multidisciplinary research fields. It’s part of the international Falling Walls Labs occurring all over the world and including the Falling Walls Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). At Falling Walls MSCA lab 15 candidates, MSCA fellows from across a wide array of scientific disciplines, have competed for a spot at the global Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin (7-9 November 2021). With this getting the chance to become a Breakthrough winner in Emerging Talents. All of the 15 candidates address with their research for greatest global challenges our time in health care, climate, engineering technologies and environmental issues.

I would like to tell you more about this exceptional experience of participating in the Falling Walls MSCA in 2021. From many applicants, 15 Marie Curie fellows were selected to present their innovative idea. We all had the chance to participate in a group coaching session with Alexandra Smith from Debatrix about Storytelling based on TED talks which was very helpful to prepare the pitch. Additionally, all of us had an individual coaching session to improve the speech for the pitch. The coach helped me to present myself better and get more confidence in myself and my research as well as learn how to talk about research in a way that people can relate to it! So quite a lot 😉

# Breaking the Wall of Curing Diabetes

In my pitch, I presented a Novel cell therapy to cure Diabetes using Spider silk!

In the process, pancreatic islets are generated from induced pluripotent stem cells and incorporated into a 3D network of spider silk for transplantation to diabetic patients. Providing this 3D network, pancreatic islets will be incorporated in spider silk foams to get mature pancreatic cells to enhance insulin and glucagon production and protect pancreatic islets. With this personalized treatment, a patient would be able to produce insulin on its own.

It was a thrilling competition and the first place went to Giulia Rocco, who works on a new way to analyse the cerebellum.  The second place went to Anwesh Bhattacharya, who develops an infrared camera using complex scattering media to look through walls. Both will continue to compete for the Breakthrough winner in Emerging Talents in Berlin.

Falling Walls MSCA competition pitch

I encourage everyone to apply for a Falling Walls lab competition next year and take this great opportunity to share your research with the public!!

The full event can be watched https://fwlmsca2021.eu/