As an international community of cancer researchers, the European Association for Cancer Research stands united in support of our scientific colleagues in Ukraine. We offer financial support to displaced researchers from Ukraine in the form of funded short-term placements in international cancer research labs to help give them time and safety in which to plan their next move or apply for other roles. You can learn more about this support here.

Read about the experiences of two recent recipients of the funding below.

1Daria Chefan

Daria in the host lab

Home institute: Odesa I. Mechnykov National University, Ukraine
Host institute: Medical Faculty Mennheim, Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg, Germany
Dates of visit: October 2022 – February 2023

What is your current research topic?

My aim was to investigate the molecular function of mutated as compared to wildtype CBL, for CRC metastasis and different steps of metastasis, and for an interplay between cancer cells and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in CRC. CBL is a mammalian gene encoding the protein CBL which is an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase involved in cell signalling and protein ubiquitination. CBL has been described as a marker of poor clinical outcome in prostate cancer because of its role as regulator of cell adhesion, migration, and degradation.

“It allowed me to believe in myself in the professional field again”

Why did you decide to apply for an EACR Ukraine Grant?

I had known of the EACR for many years before as being the Youth Ambassador for ECL, so I thought the best thing to do would be to rely on a known supportive organisation.

How did you choose the host lab?

My choice was determined by the main scientific direction of the laboratory, as well as the research topic, which coincided with my scientific interest.

Was there anything you particularly liked about the host institution?

I was very impressed by the scale of the laboratory, the availability of a wide range of equipment and research approaches.

Have you learned any specific knowledge that could benefit your home lab in future?

I have learned a special technique for working with TAM macrophages, which will allow me to use this as an advantage with my further work.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I want to express my deep gratitude for this opportunity. it allowed me to grow my professional experience and to believe in myself in the professional field again.

Hadi Parsian, Clinical Biochemist (PhD), Babol University of Medical Sciences (research stay), Prof. Dr. med. Heike Allgayer, MD, PhD, Medical Faculty Mannheim Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg (host Professor), and Daria Chefan

2Yuri Babich

Yuri (centre-left) and colleagues at the host institute

Home institute: The Centre of Skin Electrodynamic Introscopy, Kiev, Ukraine
Host institute: The University Hospital of Wurzburg, Germany
Dates of visit: May – November 2022

What is your current research topic?

Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and detecting melanoma in an early stage is key to reduce the mortality rate of patients. There is thus high demand for non-invasive detection devises to distinguish especially melanomas from healthy nevi. The team of Dr. Babich has upgraded Bioimpedance spectroscopy to discover novel spatio-temporal phenomena of the skin electrical landscape. It can be used to non-invasive high-quality visualization of the skin electrical landscape and to detect cutaneous melanomas in humans. Within this grant, we tested this method in in vitro model systems to determine the underlying biological phenomena.

“I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the EACR, especially Laura Kendrick (Fellowships and Awards Officer) for her understanding and timely support”

Describe a typical day on your placement.

It’s difficult to answer this question, because I had to leave part of my equipment back home in Ukraine, and so a lot of time was unfortunately taken up with preparatory work and searching for the necessary pieces of equipment. However, we performed a couple of analyses on yeast models and cutaneous melanoma models at the Fraunhofer Translational Centre Regenerative Therapies (TLC-RT; supervisor: Dr. Groeber-Becker).

Did you have any personal mentors or anyone who particularly helped you?

A great desire to help in such a difficult situation was shown by three persons: Dr. Angela Riedel (my host), Dr. Gudrun Dandekar and Prof. Thomas Dandekar, Head of Department, University Biocentre.

How has the trip inspired you, either in your research or otherwise?

First of all, the universal friendly and confidential atmosphere. Do not laugh, but I was very struck by the good-natured local dogs; they are clearly very satisfied with their life, which, in my opinion, says a lot and can be bitterly envied. It is possible that this also influenced my scientific achievements…!

What progress did you make in your research?

It was possible to carry out a few preliminary experiments on cell cultures, which showed the fundamental possibility of using the new approach for in vitro studies. As a result of other studies on yeast culture, in my opinion, the data obtained open up fundamentally new opportunities for this inexpensive method of real-time visualisation of tumour glycolysis metabolism and also the use of previously identified phenomena as a new type of biofeedback. Based on the results of these experiments, an article was published.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the EACR, especially Laura Kendrick (Fellowships and Awards Officer) for her understanding and timely support.

3Want to find out more?

To find out about our Ukraine Grants, please click here for more information: EACR Ukraine Grants.