Working in a different institute during my PhD was a great experience. My project focused on the influence of placental thyroid hormone by environmental contaminant exposure and metabolic syndrome, e.g., gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Prof. Shen is a group leader in the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is an advisor of my thesis committee and has collected placenta samples from women that have GDM from a Chinese birth cohort study. For this reason, my supervisor and I contacted him and discussed about the details of this project. After my first thesis meeting, I applied for a research stay grant from Helena. The funding allowed me to fully cover my accommodation, transportation, and daily expense. The institute is located in Xiamen, China, which is a very beautiful city. I spent two months (from 7th of February 2018 to 7th of April 2018) in Prof. Shen’s lab. The project went well and the results were very interesting. This experience helped me to develop my international cooperation.
On the whole, working at the Institute of Urban Environment was fascinating. The time spent there was a fantastic opportunity that has helped me to advance my knowledge in Epidemiology.