Introducing the GP2 Trainee Representatives
The GP2 Trainee Representatives have emerged as a meaningful role within the GP2 Trainee Network to mediate communication between GP2 core members and the training body. Their main responsibility is to promote GP2’s mission and training opportunities with trainees from regions across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Not only does this encourage trainees to contribute ideas for development of training resources, it also provides a platform for Trainee Representatives to develop their management and communication skills, supporting their career growth.
Alejandro Martínez-Carrasco | Western Europe
My name is Alejandro Martínez-Carrasco and I am a GP2-funded PhD student at University College London. My PhD is focused on understanding genetics that influence the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) traits. I love learning novel statistical methods and assisting in writing code which can be used to investigate PD genetics data. In my journey to become a data scientist I also want to further develop my skills in the machine learning field.
Within GP2, I am part of both the Cohort Integration Working Group and the Training, Networking, and Communication Working Group. As a trainee representative in Western Europe, I am committed to supporting trainees in the region to smoothly conduct their research using GP2 data. I believe we can all have fun learning and engaging in the PD genetics research field.
Please do not hesitate to drop me an email or message me on the GP2 Slack channel if you want to get in touch, or if you think we might be able to contribute in some way. You are not alone!
Alexandra Zirra | Eastern Europe
My name is Alexandra Zirra. I am from Romania and I am currently based in London, training as a doctor, on my way to becoming a neurologist. My interest in research led me to work on PD in the highly diverse East London population with Professor Alastair Noyce at Queen Mary University London.
This is how I discovered GP2 and the GP2 Trainee Network, and all the great opportunities they offer for training and collaboration. As the Eastern Europe Representative, I would love to share these opportunities with other trainees. Do get in touch if you are a trainee in Eastern Europe!
Paula Reyes-Pérez | Latin America
My name is Paula and I am a GP2-funded PhD student based at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. I am part of a research group which aims to characterize the genetic and neurophysiological bases, as well as cognitive and behavioral characteristics of PD patients in Mexico. The main reason this research is being carried out is because our population is ethnically diverse and lacks representation in existing large genetic studies.
Due to our research we have been able to collaborate with GP2. The training resources, constant feedback and connections provided by the GP2 Trainee Network constitute a great opportunity for anyone doing PD genetics research! If you are in Mexico, please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to help you in your journey. Also, if you belong to any other LatAm country, feel free to contact either Paula Saffie or me!
Paula Saffie Awad | Latin America
My name is Paula Saffie and I am a movement disorders neurologist in Chile. I am currently studying a GP2-funded PhD in medical science at Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul, in South Brazil. When I began my movement disorders fellowship, I started to see patients more frequently who had rare diseases, often genetic ones, and it was very difficult to study them in the country. As I became further interested in helping them, I realized that I didn’t have the right background in genetics or the skills to do so. After a long journey, I discovered GP2 and all the training opportunities they offer within the GP2 Trainee Network. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure about doing a PhD, but then I realized that this was the best way to reach my goals. I don’t regret it, because despite the hard work, it is amazing how much you can learn and all the support you receive from GP2. This is the reason I wanted to become a Trainee Representative in Latin America. I want to help others go through this process and to build bridges worldwide with other colleagues. Please get in touch with Paula Reyes or myself if you want to know more about GP2.
Arinola Omolara Sanyaolu | Africa
My name is Arinola Omolara Sanyaolu and I am a neuroscientist at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. My research seeks to understand the complex genetics of neurodegenerative disorders like PD. Being passionate about conducting translational research in Neurogenetics was a motivation for me to join the GP2 Trainee Network. After completing my PhD in Anatomy, I constantly sought opportunities to develop and acquire skills in Neurogenetics, of which GP2 has been of tremendous help. I am open to the opportunity to contribute and to be part of a collaborative team working to enhance the understanding of the complex genetic architecture of PD. Please get in touch with me if you are a trainee based in Africa.
Yi Wen Tay | Asia
I am Yi Wen and I am a PhD student in Malaysia, located in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region. There are not many studies on PD genetics in the SEA region, which leads to a lack of Asian representation in PD genetics research. Our group, led by Prof. Lim Shen-Yang at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, has been actively collaborating with GP2 since 2021.
Through this collaboration, I learned about the GP2 Trainee Network which I joined last year. In this network, clinicians, researchers, PhD and master’s students around the world work together to advance our understanding of PD genetics. GP2 also provides training resources with useful lectures and learning materials on bioinformatics that benefit all trainees. As a student with no coding background, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I look forward to getting to know any trainee from the Asia region!
Pin-Jui Kung | Asia
My name is Pin-Jui and I am a PhD student at National Taiwan University, Taiwan. My research topic mainly focuses on finding plasma biomarkers to differentiate early-onset PD from Parkinsonism, under the supervision of Prof. Ruey-Meei Wu and Prof. Shau-Ping Lin. Thanks to the collaboration with GP2, we aim to discover novel variants from underrepresented populations.
GP2 offers great opportunities for collaboration and training. In particular, the GP2 Learning Platform provides step-by-step courses on bioinformatics and open source platform analysis. The GP2 Trainee Network also shares information, courses and discussions based on trainees’ needs. We are happy to welcome trainees from the Asia region, so please do not hesitate to contact Yi Wen or me via email or the GP2 Slack channel!