Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
International exchange

One year in Boston

CCBIO PhD candidate Marta Espevold Hjelmeland in the Krakstad group spends the second year of her PhD program in Boston.

Marta sitting in the lab.
CCBIO, Marta E. Hjelmeland

Main content

Marta's PhD work focuses on pre-clinical models for identifying new treatment strategies for endometrial cancer. She got the opportunity to spend the second year of her PhD program in Boston with Professor Rameen Beroukhim at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. 

The Krakstad group has a longstanding collaboration with the Beroukhim lab and Marta feels she has been very fortunate with the stay.

"The Beroukhim lab focuses on understanding the genetic changes that occur through cancer evolution and how these changes affect cancer behavior," she explains. "The lab has a particular interest in brain cancers and in alterations of chromosome structure across many cancers. As a gynecological cancer researcher, my time in Boston has not only broadened my understanding of a specific field but also provided a unique opportunity to gain insights into several other facets of cancer research," she says, and continues: "The Beroukhim lab members hold a great knowledge in experimental designs of CRISPR screens.  With great guidance, I have been able to conduct a large whole genome wide CRISPR Cas12 knock out screen on patient-derived organoids with the aim to identify mechanisms of carboplatin resistance in endometrial cancer."

Marta's stay has however been more than laboratory work and scientific discussions. "My year in Boston has been marked by cultural enrichment," she says. "Boston is a beautiful city filled with architecture, museums, friendly people, and a weather that a Bergenser only can dream of! The time in Boston has been a great journey filled with academic challenges and personal growth. Collaborating with Professor Beroukhim and his team has expanded my horizon within cancer research and given me new knowledge that I am looking forward to sharing with my colleagues back home in Bergen."

"I can highly recommend every PhD candidate at UiB to spend a year abroad," Marta concludes. She will return to Bergen in the new year.

See also previous reports.