After spending three years as a Visiting Student in the Complex Metabolic Diseases and Mitochondria Lab led by Antonio Zorzano, Jordi Coste (b. Barcelona, 1993) is about to embark on new projects in the United States. This young scientist is leaving behind what he considers “a big family” at IRB Barcelona to pursue a career more focused on clinical counselling. But before crossing the pond, he has found time to look back on his years with us: “The Institute has helped me to improve my critical and logical thinking skills, and this will definitely help me in the future.”
When I arrived at IRB three years ago, while studying for a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Barcelona (UB), I was a little afraid. I didn’t know anyone and I was a rookie in the lab, but everyone was so kind. I learned so many things, met loads of people and made new connections in a multidisciplinary environment.
In my second year, I was granted “A future in biomedicine” fellowship, thanks to which I met the other “Futures”: Pau de Jorge, Anna Ferrer, Eduard Puig and Enric Ros. During our eight-month internship, we had the opportunity to carry out our own research projects. We also had the chance to do an exchange with the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS) in Nijmegen, Netherlands, with which IRB Barcelona has a long-standing collaboration. The research project allowed me to work independently and, for the first time I was able to design an experiment, think about my hypothesis and obtain results for my conclusions. I learned a lot in this period and gained the confidence to help me be able to make the right decisions for my future.
During this last year, as a Master's student in Genetics and Genomics enrolled at the University of Barcelona, I have been doing my thesis project on protein Mitofusin 2 in the Complex Metabolic Diseases and Mitochondria Lab, with the support and guidance of Antonio. I have had the chance to learn from him in both his roles as a PI in the lab, and as a Professor in the university. If I had to highlight one thing, it would be our informal conversations. He told me a lot about his own experiences in Boston that will help me in my professional and personal life in the United States.
My thanks also go to all the lab members who have helped me during the years and whose passion about science has inspired me. Postdoctoral fellow Juan Pablo Muñoz has especially been a great source of inspiration for me.
Jordi is preparing for the next chapter in his career, which is taking a new direction. “A genetic disorder, Retinitis pigmentosa, runs in my family and we went through dozens of doctors without getting a clear diagnosis. This has motivated me to want to be able to advise people about their genetic diagnoses, inform them of possible genetic risks when planning for a baby, and propose personalised solutions”.
Jordi is now planning to apply for a genetic counselling training program, with a view to doing a Masters degree offered by the MD Anderson Cancer Center or the Baylor College of Medicine, both in Houston.