Santiago Nicolás RODRIGUEZ

SRP revealed to me what makes EPFL unique: top researchers, world-class resources and a very international environment on top of the Swiss socioeconomic stability.

My name is Santiago Nicolás Rodriguez Alvarez and I participated in the SRP in 2021. After the program ended, I went back to my hometown and completed a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Buenos Aires. In parallel, I applied to EPFL Doctoral Program in Physics and got admitted. In April 2022, I started my PhD at the Laboratory of Experimental Biophysics led by Prof. Suliana Manley, where I also did my SRP internship.

In my SRP project, I developed a neural network to detect mitochondrial constrictions. My supervisor was a postdoc at the lab who was always there to support me. This experience was so good that I decided to start my PhD right after obtaining my Master’s diploma. SRP revealed to me what makes EPFL unique: top researchers, world-class resources and a very international environment on top of the Swiss socioeconomic stability.

Chris AN

After participating in SRP, my research interests have evolved rapidly, and I can confidently say that the thesis project that I am pursuing now have been heavily influenced by the experience that I have gained during the program.

My name is Chris (Seong Yeol) An. I am currently a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the neuroscience program at Johns Hopkins University. I participated in the SRP program on the summer of 2018. I pursued a project in Dr. Ralf Schneggenburger’s lab titled Characterization of long-range connections involved in the auditory pathway during fear conditioning. This was my first project into the field of systems and circuit neuroscience as my previous research experience as an undergraduate student was more focused on investigating stem cells and biophysics of ion channels. I worked closely with Dr. Denys Osypenko, who was a great mentor. Both Dr. Osypenko and Dr. Schneggenburger were available to have conversations about not just the project, but also fundamental concepts and topics in neuroscience that was important for understanding the work done in the lab. The lab was very friendly and there were abundance of resources to make the completion of my project more easily.

SRP was such an invaluable experience because I met many friends through this experience. I became close friends with the lab members, but also made numerous friends in the program. In fact, I still stay in touch with some lab members and SRP participants even after 5 years! They have been my friend, ally, and colleagues during my Ph.D.

SRP has also scientifically developed me, by allowing me to experience a different topic of research compared to the ones I had participated in before, and also creating an academic environment where I can easily immerse myself in science. After participating in SRP, my research interests have evolved rapidly, and I can confidently say that the thesis project that I am pursuing now have been heavily influenced by the experience that I have gained during the program. I would say this experience solidified my passion to pursue a career in neuroscience, and it has aided me in acquiring Ph.D. fellowships and many other academic and non-academic aspects of my career.

Nahyun KONG

Nahyun Kong - Student 2018 - ©EPFL S. Goodman

I am from South Korea and I am studying biological science at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology).

I worked in the Prof. Fellay’s lab that focuses on human genomics of viral diseases. My project was to characterize the host genomic variants of HIV super controllers.

It was as if I was doing my own research, which was very interesting. Since the lab was a dry lab, I used computers to analyse genomic sequences by with Unix and Bash. My PI was very generous with his time and my supervisor was passionate about teaching and helping me. I  could successfully achieve my project’s goal.

I learned research tools such as how to do variant calling, annotation and verifying variants and how to communicate with other scientists.

I think the most important thing was the social network with other talented SRP participants. Living with each other helps us to become great friends and gives us the opportunity to discuss each other’s projects.

I became confident about studying abroad. My plan is to do a PhD and to continue to study genomic factors of various diseases. I would like to be a researcher who can give hope to people who suffer from genetic diseases by developing therapies.

I am in the process of applying to graduate schools in the US after finishing my internships.  Things are a little bit in limbo because of the Corona Virus at the moment.  Watch this space!


Luis Eduardo Hernández Ramírez

Luis Eduardo Hernández Ramirez - Student 2018 - ©EPFL S. Goodman

I’m from Maracaibo, Venezuela studying for bachelor degree in both biology and chemical engineering.

I worked in Prof. Gönczy’s lab generating a C. elegans temperature sensitive strain that allows to purify large amounts of fluorescently labelled centrioles for the characterization of centrioles from sperm without DNA.

Working in a research lab at EPFL was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The lab atmosphere was amazing. It was exciting working with people who share the same passion for life sciences. I learnt a lot from the professor, technicians, PhDs and postdocs there and built strong friendships!

I learned things that I am not able to learn in my country due to its economic crisis. EPFL’s SRP gave me the opportunity to acquire hands-on laboratory training in multiple lab techniques and I was glad to be part of an amazing lab team. I gained independence, learned some French and expanded my understanding of the world as I met people from many countries and made friendships with people from many cultures. Most importantly, I proved to myself that I am capable to succeed out of my comfort zone.

SRP gives students like me their first opportunity to do research surrounded by like-minded people within a laboratory setting at the edge of the unknown. SRP gives a life changing experience that is remembered for the rest of one’s life.

Thanks to SRP I expanded my vision of my future plans as scientist. I plan to do my PhD in Europe, most probably in Switzerland.

I am doing my Master’s in Chemical Biology at University of Geneva in collaboration with the  Gönczy Lab at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where I worked during SRP 2018. For my Master’s I am probing biological problems at the molecular level using innovative chemistry and biochemistry approaches.

EPFL SRP is an opportunity of a lifetime if you are an undergraduate student pursuing a career in life sciences. When applying show your curiosity, inspiration and motivation for science and dedicate enough time to work on your application.



Shahriar Shalileh - Student 2018 - ©EPFL - S. Goodman

I’m from Iran, studying electrical engineering focusing on bio-nano-electrical devices.

I did my internship at Prof. Renaud’s lab and my project was investigating on In-cell electrophysiological recording.

Astonishing would be the best-describing word for the lab atmosphere and people around me. Facilities, people in there and especially the professional approach to scientific research has taught me a lot!

Daily organizing, working in a group on electrical assays like EIS. Theoretically obtaining the model and then practically examine it.

Seeing one of the best bioelectrical school in the world could give me a helpful view of my future and working area.

Definitely, I am thinking seriously about  applying for a PhD position at the lab I worked in, at EPFL!

While under quarantine, I am waiting for PhD application results and applying to EPFL’s Doctoral Program in Microsystems and Microelectronics. I am also finalizing the data and writing a paper manuscript to be submitted for a journal publication.  Moreover, I am writing my Master thesis and getting ready to defend as soon as the situation is back to normal.

I strongly encourage students to apply for SRP. Being in one of the best universities in the world would surely help to have a much better view over a field of interest, the future of the field and will be a big help to become familiar with different projects going on at EPFL.

Adewale Opeoluwa

Adewale Opeoluwa - Student 2018 - ©EPFL - S. Goodman

I come from Nigeria and I am studying molecular biology and genomics at the Redeemer’s University, Nigeria.

I worked in Prof. van der Goot’s lab and my project was on palmitoylation of protrudin and it’s role in the regulation of the endoplasmic reticulum’s architecture and formation of contact sites with late endosomes.

The lab was like a second home to me because I found myself surrounded by family. The lab members were welcoming, my supervisor was awesome and the principal investigator was loving and encouraging.

I learnt how to use the most recent techniques and technologies in life science research to solve health related problems. It was great to experience that research is about searching and continuing the search even when nothing has been found so far. If nothing has been found in your precious searches, then you need to RE-SEARCH or search again and again until you find something. That’s why it is called RESEARCH.

Meeting people from other countries and making new friends. The unity in the diversity of the group was something I would love to remember for a long time.

Presently, I am doing my master’s and would consider beginning a PhD program in the US. Definitely, the SRP had an effect on my plans for the future by igniting a burning passion to pursue research (and a PhD) with the overall goal of saving lives.

I am presently completing my masters in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University, USA. 
My experience at EPFL provided me with the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in one of the best Universities in the world which provided me with some leverage when I applied for graduate school. Participating in SRP helped reveal my scientific potential, passion and dreams to a wider global audience.

Especially for students in developing countries, my advice would be: apply even if you feel your chances of being accepted are slim. If you do not apply you make your chances zero but if you apply there is still a chance to be selected, no matter how small you think it is. Moreover, inclusion and diversity are a very important factor considered when participants are selected.