John Oluwafemi Teibo is a PhD student at the Cancer Proteomics Laboratory, Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo in Brazil who received an EACR Travel Fellowship to visit and work at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU), University of Dundee in the UK between March and August 2023.
The EACR has joined forces with Worldwide Cancer Research to provide Travel Fellowships of up to €3,000 to enable early-career cancer researchers to gain new skills through a short-term visit to a lab or research group in another country.
You can read about other Travel Fellows and their experiences here.
Name: John Oluwafemi Teibo
Job title: PhD student
Home institute: Cancer Proteomics Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil
Host institute: Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU), School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK
Dates of visit: 13 March – 28 August 2023
Other funding organisations: IUBMB Wood-Whelan Research Fellowship
Research: Blood cancers are one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Research advancement has led to the development of “living drug” using modified cells to treat these cancers which we have produced in Brazil. I’m working on how these modified cells work and what they use to execute the killing of these cancers by making use of mass spectrometry-based proteomics and phosphoproteomics.
Why did you decide to apply for an EACR Travel Fellowship?
As a student member of the EACR, I was intrigued about various opportunities that the EACR offers. In order to maximise my stay at the University of Dundee to learn and carry out part of my research project, I decided to apply for the EACR Travel Fellowship which is instrumental and key to having this research visit as successful.
How did you choose the host lab?
I met Prof. Dario Alessi at the Biochemistry Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where we discussed my project and he was very keen to host me in his laboratory to provide skill transfer and collaboration. Prof. Alessi is a recognised expert in signal transduction and has a well set-up laboratory with the instrumentation and bioinformatics tools to decomplex some of the questions that I have for my research project.
Can you summarise some of the research you did?
I was involved in utilising newly established protocols for the rapid immunoprecipitation of organelle (Golgi-IP, Lysosome-IP) to study molecular content of intact organelles at high-resolution. I helped to develop highly sensitive phosphopeptide enrichment of tryptic peptides derived from lysosome-IP and Golgi-IP enrichments by combining ultra-sensitive data independent acquisition and parallel accumulation and serial fragmentation (dia-PASEF) on a timsTOF SCP mass spectrometer. I applied this technology to study Lysosomal phosphorylation profile in wildtype mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEFs) and MEFs with the LysoTAG system that are treated with ± Torin-1; a potent inhibitor of mTOR to assess its impact on signalling in lysosomes.
“We intend to collaborate with the host lab in the future in terms of subsequent visits and also in terms of publication”
Describe a ‘typical day’ on your visit.
A typical day in the lab starts at 9am for me and I visit the tissue culture room to check my cells, next I set up the bench for organelle immunoprecipitation and lyse the organelle from the beads and then quantify the protein from the organelle pull down. Next, I prepare the lysate for immunoblotting and run quality control blots using organelle marker. I can then continue with the proteomics sample preparation the next day using S-trap columns and then load the sample to EVOTIP which goes into the timsTOF SCP mass spectrometer.
What were you able to do that you could not have achieved in your home lab?
I was able to master proteomics workflow for sample preparation as I prepared a lot of samples for the timsTOF SCP mass spectrometer. Understanding how to navigate and trouble shoot each step was one of the major things I achieved from this visit. Access to mass spectrometry and developing protocol for low – quantity starting material for phosphoproteomics was also possible through this visit.
Did you take part in any interesting cultural activities?
I took part in a cultural activity that involved Africans meeting for a Summer Barbecue which was an interesting event to see people of other nationalities and also enjoy the foods, culture and lifestyle as it brought back old memories.
What was a personal highlight of your trip?
The visit to MRC PPU helped to see science from a broader perspective as I saw that the research done there had an uptake by industries and companies. Towards the latter part of the visit, my family being around helped me to feel more relaxed and explore more outside the lab experiences with them.
Was there anything you particularly liked about the host institution?
University of Dundee has great faculties and researchers and I saw this with the work they put into research as well the drive to come up with innovation in various fields.
Did you have a personal mentor or anyone who particularly helped you?
I met a lot of persons that helped me during the course of this. One of note is Dr. Raja Nirujogi who is the Post Doc I was assigned to. He exposed me to a lot of things in the proteomics field and challenged my reasoning and thought process. He motivated me and taught me a lot of skills that will be useful in my research and career as a whole.
How has the trip inspired you in your research?
Having been in Prof. Dario Alessi lab has inspired me a lot, personally from the PI (Prof. Dario Alessi); in the way he does science and he always says there is a thin line between success and failure in science that one must keep digging to get the answer to different question. Meeting an international lab with people from different parts of the world inspired me as we were able to connect by the science we do together and learn from each other.
How has this visit been beneficial to your research and your career?
This visit has really been a boost to my research experience as my lab skills in the area of cell and molecular biology has been solidified as well as in proteomics, I have been able to design experiment and execute them as well as very much learnt and make progress in the proteomics workflow. We intend to collaborate with the host lab in the future in terms of subsequent visits and also in terms of publication. Many thanks to the EACR for the Travel Fellowship which enabled me to have elongated my stay and properly contribute my quota as well as learn during the course of my stay at the MRC PPU at the University of Dundee.
If you are interested in applying for the Travel Fellowship scheme, please click here for more information: EACR Travel Fellowships.