A French invasion at our lab

After a long wait, the borders opened this summer and we were able to welcome Erasmus students at our lab again. This summer, the biomaterials lab was taken over by our French summer interns.

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Our Erasmus interns Théo Merienne, Lilian Rodriguez and Yann Dumay from Polytech Nantes kept our lab busy over the summer.

Meet our summer students Théo, Lilian and Yann

This summer, the Department of Biomaterials was hosting three materials engineering students from Polytech Nantes: Théo Merienne, Lilian Rodriguez and Yann Dumay. We were all glad to have new students livening up the lab after a long corona break, but let's hear from our students how they experienced their time in Oslo.

Théo: I am a student in engineering school in Nantes in the field of materials. During my studies at the engineering school in Nantes, I had the chance to spend two months as a research assistant in the biomaterials department in Oslo. Thanks to a good collaboration with the researchers, my arrival in the laboratory was done without any problem. I was able to broaden my knowledge on materials engineering to a wider field than covered in my studies during this internship.

Lilian: Like Théo, I had the opportunity to combine a two-month internship at the Department of Biomaterials in Oslo with my 4th year of materials science studies in Nantes. The project I was working on here in Oslo focused on the synthesis and characterisation of protein-loaded and mineralised synthetic hydrogels for the regeneration of periodontal tissues. 

Yann: The engineering studies that I followed at Polytech Nantes allowed me to learn many characterisation techniques for different materials. During my two months internship at the Department of Biomaterials University of Oslo between July and September 2021, I was able to use this knowledge to determine the surface energies of ZrO2 ceramics, which are used in making dental crowns. I also learned how to use a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) to determine which chemical is most effective in removing saliva proteins from the surface of ZrO2.

What have they learned during their stay in Oslo?

Théo: During my internship, I gained knowledge on nanofibre fabrication methods. I also learned how to characterise nanofibres using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), tensile tests and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). My supervisor was there to answer all my questions while giving me space to experiment by myself.

The lab team was also very welcoming to me, I always felt at ease there. It also allowed me to develop my English and to learn many things, so this internship became unforgettable for me, and I hope to come back one day.

Lilian: In addition to learning how to produce protein-loaded and mineralised synthetic hydrogels, I was able to use many different techniques to characterise the gels I made. Some of the methods, like SEM and FTIR, I had used previously during my studies in France, but other techniques like confocal laser scanning microscopy were completely new to me. I worked also on developing an automated cell tracking method to study cell migration as a response to proteins released from the hydrogel. I learned a lot the biological aspects of biomaterials science, a field that is quite far from the topics generally covered in my materials science studies.

To conclude, this internship has been an amazing opportunity for me to discover a new field of application for materials science. Everyone at the lab has been very kind to me and made my stay at the lab very educational and interesting. They all made sure that every single day of these two months of my internship in Oslo was a real pleasure.  

Yann: The two months I spent in Oslo allowed me to learn many things on various subjects. First of all, I learned a lot about the biological aspect of the work that is done here at the Department of Biomaterials which was totally absent from my background knowledge. I also had the chance to learn how to use many very interesting tools such as an optical profilometer, QCM-D, SEM and 3D scanning techniques using both x-rays and visible light. For all these reasons, it was very interesting to discover the functioning of a biomaterials laboratory, which is very different from the physics laboratory I am more used to.

Above all, the most important point was to learn how to evolve in an international environment. Working with really brilliant people who have the desire to transmit their knowledge in a particularly motivating atmosphere made of this internship an amazing experience for me.

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Photo by Florian Weber / UiO

Tags: Biomaterials, Erasmus+, student exchange, internship, internationalisation, QCM-D, zirconia, hydrogels, stem cells, electrospinning By Hanna Tiainen
Published Oct. 4, 2021 10:33 AM - Last modified Oct. 25, 2021 1:49 PM