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Master's Programs Collaborate Across the Pond for an International Journal Club

international-journal-club.jpgOn February 5th, graduate students in the US and Spain from Northwestern’s Master’s in Reproductive Science and Medicine program (MS-RSM) and University of Murcia’s Master’s in Biology and Technology of Reproduction (MS-BTR), gathered virtually for an international journal club. For 3 years, these two programs have collaborated to enhance international networking ties through a journal club that forms new collaborative bonds and enhances our respective educational environments by introducing diverse viewpoints in our shared field. Katy Trotter (CRS MS-RSM student) expressed her enthusiasm for the international journal club, When I heard we were going to be collaborating with a master's program in Spain, I was very excited. It ended up being an interesting experience, and there is something special about knowing there is another group around the globe that shares our same interests and knowledge.”

Collectively over 30 scholars participated in a discussion on the article, “A developmental landscape of 3D-cultured human pre-gastrulation embryos” published in Nature in January 2020. Teams of students, from both institutions, prepared talking points and led discussion on each figure as well as compared and contrasted regulations on assisted reproductive technologies in Spain, US, Mexico, and Thailand. Guillermo Yarza Muñoz (Murcia MS-BTR student) reflected, The international journal club has been a very interesting experience for the students. These kinds of activities help to break down geographical barriers and allowed us to establish contact with people in the same field of study.”  

Collaborating and networking with colleagues from different continents, countries, and across multiple time zones, unites us in our passion for the research in our field, sharing and exchanging ideas globally. With excitement Yair Lupovitch said “The journal club was an incredibly enlightening and collaborative experience.  Being able to come together with a group of individuals in a program so similar to our own, was an innovative way of fostering new connections with students half-way across the globe. It also created a network through which we can discuss various career paths, research interests, as well as potential future collaborations between the two institutions. Overall, it was an invaluable discussion, and I hope we can do something similar in the near future!"  This meeting of the minds, organized this year by Dr. Raquel Romar Andrés (Professor, Murcia MS-BTR) and Giulia Vigone (Lecturer, Northwestern MS-RSM) resulted in an excellent discussion and an opportunity to broaden our scientific spheres. Dr. Vigone summarized all our sentiments, “We hope that this experience served as an ice-breaker among our students, and they will keep in touch with each other and hopefully create long lasting collaborations in the future”.