in3: young scientists rising

in3: young scientists across Europe work towards chemical and nanomaterial safety

in3 is a collaborative, cross-European project to drive the development and use of in vitro and in silico tools for human chemical and nanomaterial safety assessment. in3 is also 15 PhD students - all Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows – whose work corresponds to the 15 sub-projects. Finally, in3 is 13 universities, research institutes and companies - each one a specialist in a field critical to the sub-projects – that host the students, providing training and supervision while promoting initiative, innovation and collaboration.

One of the PhD students, Pranika Singh, is charged with data management and bioinformatics for the entire in3 project. “My job will be to integrate and manage the data produced, so my work provides a critical in silico contribution to in3, that might otherwise be missing,” Pranika says.

Pranika Singh is embedded in Douglas Connect, at its main office in Basel’s Technology Park. The close relationship with Douglas Connect, she says, will help her align the future in3 database to OpenTox. “OpenTox will bring best practice on open source and open standards to in3 and help improve sustainability and transparency,” adds Douglas Connect CEO Dr. Barry Hardy.

Deployed all over Europe, the 15 PhD students must work closely together to coordinate their different projects, each of which is a step towards a safer world. “We just had our kick-off meeting in Amsterdam with the entire in3 team,” Pranika says. “It was our first opportunity to meet all the principal investigators and PhD counterparts from the beneficiaries and  partner organizations.”. “The meeting was really informative, and also was very successful in its aim of getting to know each other.”

“My main focus is on Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) and trying to see and understand adverse effects,” she says. “I started in September so I’m still in the reading phase. But I’m also doing the research from my side so that I don’t have to rely fully on others.”
Pranika Singh earned her Bachelor’s degree in engineering in the field of bioinformatics from Jaypee University of Information Technology, India. She then earned her Masters from the University of Bonn and meanwhile, had the opportunity to work at Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing in Germany. "I was working primarily with genomics and neuroimaging data in the field of neurodegenerative diseases primarily Alzheimer's disease," she says. “My Masters gave me hands-on experience. I witnessed how a project should be run.”
After graduation, Pranika pondered whether to take a job or to continue studying for her PhD. “I decided that I wanted to help further progress in bioinformatics. It’s a new and challenging field helping biologists to use and manage data. My interest is in the application of informatics in the field of biology to make the evolving data more interpretable and manageable and bioinformatics serves that purpose very well.”


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