Biology Centre hosts two new MSCA fellows
Ahamed Khan and Mingxi Zhou are two postdoctoral researchers who succeeded with their project proposals in a competitive European call for MSCA Individual Fellowship. A total of 11,573 proposals were submitted in response to the call H2020-MSCA-IF-2020. Only 21 MSCA fellowships were awarded to the Czech Republic, two of them go to the Biology Centre CAS.
Ahamed Khan got his PhD degree in Biotechnology at Utkal University, Vani Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Republic of India on 22 December 2020. He has been working at the Biology Centre CAS since January 2020. His project “EvoPWO: Evolution of plant PWO proteins and their function: a synthetic biology approach” is based on an international collaboration between three research groups: Iva Mozgová Group at the Biology Centre CAS, Czech Republic, Sara Farrona Group at the National University of Ireland Galway, and Daniel Schubert Group at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
Mingxi Zhou was awarded PhD degree in Agronomic Sciences and Biological Engineering at Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium on 28 November 2019. He moved to the Biology Centre CAS in October 2019. His MSCA project RPAAL is focused on the role of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) in plant acclimation to ambient light under the supervision of Iva Mozgová.
Why did you decide to move for your postdoctoral internship to the Czech Republic? Why did you decide to apply for MSCA IF?
Ahamed: Since I was interested to peruse my career in plant epigenetic biology, where Dr. Iva Mozgová Lab stands perfect option for me to perform quality work under her guidance with the supported facilities and equipment available in her lab. Secondly, the work-family balance is quite good here in the Czech Republic which really supports me with good mental and physical health. I decided to apply the MSCA IF as it supports the best, most promising individual researchers from anywhere in the world. Besides, the MSCA IF provides complete financing package that supports living, mobility, and family allowances which will help me to establish my early career as independent researcher.
Mingxi: I like the academic atmosphere in the Czech Republic very much. When I browsed the Biology Centre website and the Iva’s Lab website, I found what she is doing by using developed technology in plant epigenetics is the hot topic in the world today. In Belgium, I did a lot of work in plant physiology. In order to broaden and develop my career, I am willing to gain some knowledge in plant molecular biology in Iva´s laboratory.
What are your main goals for upcoming two years? What are your expectations for your professional career development at the Biology Centre CAS?
Ahamed: My main goal for the next two years is to perform quality work and publish in high-impact journals. Besides, getting effective collaboration and networking among the scientist will also be my priority. Moreover, I will be working on improving my soft skills to communicate my work among the public platform. My long-term goal is to stay in academia as a researcher and I think this two-year internship at the Biology Centre CAS will provide me a great opportunity to become an Independent Research Group Leader in near future.
Mingxi: MSCA IF is one of the most prestigious grants in the world. It encourages researchers from all over the world to communicate with each other. Meanwhile, MSCA could greatly develop my scientific career. In addition, I am very confident with my research proposal guided by Iva Mozgová. Under MSCA IF sponsorship, I believe that we can well achieve our goals. In addition to making breakthroughs in scientific research, I also hope that I can become an independent leader of a group in future. Hence, not only learning the plant molecular biology and epigenetics, but improving my responsibilities and organizational as well as supervising skills will be of importance for my professional development.
Mingxi (left) and Ahamed with the Group Leader Iva Mozgová (in the middle).
MSCA Individual Fellowships support the career development and training of researchers in all scientific disciplines through international and inter-sectoral mobility. European Fellowship allows a stay of 1–2 years anywhere in Europe. Global Fellowship finances 2-year stays outside the EU with a 1-year return stage to the sending institution. So far, this fellowship has not been restricted in terms of age, but a limit of 8 years after the obtaining of PhD is expected to be implemented in the Horizon Europe program in 2021. MSCA scholarship covers living allowances, mobility allowances, family allowances, research and training costs and administration and indirect costs. The success rate of applicants is 13 %. The next call will be announced in May 2021, with the application submission deadline on 15 September 2021. Projects will be able to start between 1 March 2022 and 1 September 2022.