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Inspiration from colleagues: Cynthia de Bont (Canada, Liverpool)

Cynthia de Bont is a PhD candidate within the department of Biomolecular Chemistry at the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM). In 2016, she got that position in order to start up specific research on neutrophils (about 70% of all white blood cells function as the body's first line of defence against invading pathogens). Cynthia’s research in Nijmegen is all about individual pioneering: “everything is new, and thus everything is result”.


In 2018, Cynthia went to Canada to join a conference about neutrophils for which she made use of a Radboud Internationalisation grant. For her it was a perfect occasion to meet international counterparts in person, to get feedback on her research results and to exchange experiences. One of the international experts present was Helen Wright, Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellow  en Group Leader, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool. Their acquaintance not only resulted in the exchange of expertise for Cynthia’s project, she also received an invitation to join Helen’s research group in Liverpool for a period of 8 weeks. For this work related stay abroad Cynthia made use of the Christine Mohrmann Stipend which had been awarded to her that same year. Her staff mobility period in Liverpool directed Cynthia’s research more towards autoimmune diseases. It also was the start of a fruitful and personal cooperation which still continues today.

(from left to right: Helen Wright and Cynthia)

For Cynthia the advantages of international staff mobility are evident. Not only for the broadening and the deepening of specific knowledge, but also for the feedback from peers on e.g. research data, learning new techniques, and the extension of an indispensable international network.