9 August 2022 – “I needed to get out of my single cell bubble!” says Adel Al Jord, who swapped Paris for Zurich for a three-month EMBO New Venture Fellowship. Al Jord is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology at the College de France and interested in how cellular forces affect cell fate. After his latest project, on how forces in female germ cells drive fertility, came to an end, he felt the need to take a step back and learn new skills. His fellowship allowed him to do just that. Al Jord is one of three scientists who were awarded an EMBO New Venture Fellowship in 2021. The fellowship supports young scientists to enter a new field in memory of the passionate scientist and EMBO Member Suzanne Eaton.
“By chance I heard EMBO Member Lucas Pelkmans from the University of Zurich talk about his work on system biology approaches in multi-cellular environments and wanted to learn more,” Al Jord explains. What he gained from his time in Switzerland was more valuable than just a new skill set. “The experience gave me a much more global view of my science and has changed my career trajectory,” he says. “It was very refreshing to experience how another group conducts their lab meetings, how they work together and how they approach their research.”
Al Jord brought home new collaborations, a renewed motivation and enthusiasm for the future. “Too often we get too focussed on our own work and get used to a certain way of thinking,” he says. “The fellowship is a great opportunity to take a break, learn something new and look at your work with a fresh perspective. I would highly recommend it.” Al Jord now plans to establish his own lab in mechanobiology that would include a systems biology component and feels his fellowship adds credibility to his new career plans: “I think it has given my research a new edge!”