Secondment from NUIG, Galway, Ireland to INSERM, Rennes, France.

ESR7 – Brian Leuzzi (Italian) 

BrianFor Italian people and especially for those from Southern Italy it has always been hard leave the country go abroad. Also leaving the house for only thirty minutes can create panic in our mothers. Anyway, I found my second home in Ireland with a new life, friends and adventures. The Irish experience is something that everybody has to try. Beautiful places to visit with huge cliffs or amazing castles that take you back to the history of middle ages. However, the weather is not so clement, so be prepared with waterproof jackets and umbrellas.

After one year spent in the Afshin Samali’s laboratory in the National University of Ireland, Galway I went on a three month secondment to France, in a lovely place in Brittany called Rennes. I was not afraid but you can understand that leaving home twice can make you feel a little lost. If my mother feels worried in these situations my father always tries to help me practically in such moments. So he and his brother travelled from Bari and joined me for one week to explore this little corner of France.


The experience in Brittany was fantastic. Although my spoken French is as good as my knowledge in quantum physics, every single French person that I met was always friendly even when communication was often not so clear and my arms started to dance in such Italian way.  Eric Chevet and his team that hosted me deserve my thanks, as they accepted me as a new member of his group. Fortunately, I was also in the hands of Alexandra (ESR2) and Dimitrios (ESR11) who took care of me and showed me such beautiful spots of Rennes.

In Eric’s lab I learned a new technology called CRISPR/Cas9. It is the latest important innovation in molecular biology which allows us to manipulate the genome with high precision and specificity.

Three months is not a long period but I felt really good in France and I would like to come back for a longer visit. This experience allowed me to make new friends, learn new methodologies in molecular biology, visit a lovely city and learn a little bit of French.


P.S. If you are in Rennes and it is time for dinner. Stop to the first restaurant in plaice Saint-Anne. Ask for a “galette complète” and a ”bolée de cidre”. Enjoy!