Pelican grant to support training and mobility for glioblastoma research project

LIH PhD candidate is awarded the national grant

12th December 2019

2 min read                                                                                                                              

Pelican grant to support training and mobility for glioblastoma research project

LIH PhD candidate is awarded the national grant

Yahaya Abubakar Yabo, PhD candidate in the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory at LIH’s Department of Oncology, is one of the winners of the 2019 Pelican Grant, awarded by the Fondation du Pélican de Mie et Pierre Hippert-Faber.

Since 2011, the Fondation du Pélican has been awarding the annual Pelican Grant to a number of PhD candidates affiliated with the Doctoral Programme in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering (DSSE) at the University of Luxembourg. This grant is meant for expenses related to training and professional development and can be used for travel, accommodation and registration costs for conferences, workshops and courses or to finance short-term stays abroad in the frame of research collaborations.

This year, LIH PhD candidate Yahaya Abubakar Yabo, who is currently in the second year of his doctorate, was awarded EUR 7,000 from the foundation. His PhD project focuses on glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer, and particularly on the characterisation of the factors underpinning cancer cell adaptation to treatment, resulting in tumour resistance and progression.

The grant will allow Yahaya to acquire invaluable skills in the context of his project, by supporting his attendance and participation in a series of relevant training courses and meetings. Namely, he is planning to undertake an internship at the Computational Cancer Biology laboratory, under the guidance of Prof Roel Verhaak, in The Jackson Laboratory in Farmington, USA. The laboratory, which currently collaborates with the NorLux laboratory within the Glioma Longitudinal AnalySiS (GLASS) consortium, is internationally renowned for its expertise in cancer genomics. The internship, set to take place in 2020, will therefore enable Yahaya to further hone his skills in the novel single-cell sequencing techniques required for his doctorate. Moreover, the grant will also give him the opportunity to present and discuss his work with top experts at the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) annual meeting in Texas (USA) in November 2020 and at the European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) meeting in Rotterdam (Netherlands) in September 2021.

“I am very grateful to the Fondation du Pélican not only for their trust in my project, but for pledging to invest in the potential of young researchers like myself"

says Yahaya.

“The grant will also give me the chance to further reinforce our collaborations with the international scientific community and contribute to increasing the visibility of Luxembourgish research abroad”, he concludes.   

Yahaya’s research project is part of the Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network (ITN) programme Gliotrain, a multi-sectoral industry-academia collaboration aiming to identify novel strategies to treat glioblastoma and investigate its resistance mechanisms.

> Fondation du Pelican

The Fondation du Pélican was established in 2010 by retired pharmacist Pierre Hippert and operates under the aegis of the Fondation de Luxembourg. It aims to provide long-term support in the fields of scientific and academic research, as well as in the areas of the arts and letters in the Grand Duchy. Specifically, the foundation contributes to the financing of biomedical research studies by providing scholarships or purchasing equipment.

Yahaya Abubakar Yabo, PhD candidate