Attracting and training the most talented young scientists is key to the future of our laboratories. The ICST LabEx associates research labs from 4 of the top 12 French Universities (Nice, Montpellier, Grenoble and Lille). All academic partners are affiliated with Doctoral Schools and Master Programs in their Universities. All partners have a strong experience in mentoring Doctoral and Masters students in their laboratories. All are involved at different levels in teaching, lecturing, evaluation and selection of graduate students, and delivering Master and PhD diplomas.
While some teaching modules cover specific aspects of ion channels properties, at present, ion channels are not a major topic in the graduate teaching programs of universities associated with our laboratories. The training chapter of this proposal coordinated by Pr Jacques Noël aims to create specific courses, technological workshops and e.learning classes at the Master and PhD levels, accessible to continuous education for applicants from the academic and private sectors. A package of English and French classes will be proposed taking advantage of University of Nice resources (French classes at “Université d’été” and Laboratory of language). This will be crucial for efficient scientific communication and essential for integration into daily life.
The ICST Master course will have 4 semesters. Semester 1 and 3 offer 6 classes in a range of topics on ion channels (180 teaching hours). Lectures will be given in Nice by researchers from ICST labs, in addition to a range of international experts. Lectures will be recorded, and e.learning courses will be included in the LabEx website for remote student teaching and for continuous education of professionals engaged in life-long learning curriculum. Teaching topics will cover the main axes of the project: transcriptomics, proteomics, molecular engineering, functional channel properties (biophysics, electrophysiology, trafficking, etc), cell biology of ion channels (cell proliferation, apoptosis, etc), ion channel pharmacology and drug discovery, roles of ion channels in physiology and physiopathology (channelopathies…), therapeutic interest of ion channel targeting for treating pain, cardiac dysfunction, cancer and neurological disorders. From January to June, semesters 2 and 4 will be 6-month internships in partner labs. Internships in labs abroad may be considered on the basis of research excellence in the field of ion channels research.
After the ICST-Master course, students may enter the ICST-PhD program or other PhD programs in France, abroad or in the private sector. Our objective is that more than 80% of ICST-Master students pursue towards a PhD. The national scale of our LabEx project is definitely an asset for this objective.
We propose 3 actions to train ICST-PhD students in the latest topics of ion channel research.
1. Implementing e-learning courses on hot topics in ion channel discovery. This will be an open resource for students and the community. This project will use new communication technologies (interactive e.learning, podcasting, etc). Courses will be offered as a training program to PhD Schools.
2. Funding for training periods of 2 to 3 months in partner labs. Students will learn new skills and techniques. Training periods in labs abroad may be funded on the consideration if deemed essential to bring new scientific skills to the ICST partner labs.
3. Confrontation with the scientific community. ICST-PhD students will attend at least one national and one international scientific congress during their thesis. A special partnership is proposed with the French “Association des Canaux Ioniques”, and it is expected that ICST-PhD students will meet annually at the Association’s scientific congress. This will be the opportunity for students to share their experience and projects in a convivial atmosphere.
As a whole, this ambitious program will draw young talented researchers to ion channel research and give the impetus to lead a successful career in Life Sciences in both academia and private sector.