Aswathy Balakrishnan is a a third year PhD student with the EPSRC SFI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies at University College Dublin and NIBRT recently finished a 3-month secondment at Purdue University in the US.
Speaking on her experiences, Aswathy said her research revolves around the rational design of biopharmaceutical drugs, specifically RNA. My work involves studying the stability and degradation of mRNA and mRNA lipid nanoparticles (mRNA-LNPs).
During my secondment at Purdue University, I used a variety of analytical techniques to explore the physical stability of mRNA-LNPs and looked at the impact of the different stages of freeze-drying. I also got the chance to attend two international conferences and present my work to other professionals (in academia and industry) working in similar fields, helping me to expand my network. Apart from research, going on this international placement allowed me to meet new people and see new places, helping me learn so much, both professionally and personally.