FP7 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Programme
Dr Eduardo Paredes is a Spanish researcher. He has brought his unique expertise in Reference Materials to his CEA laboratory for two years now. Learn more about the research he is conducting at the Laboratory of Nuclear, Isotopic and Elementary Analytical development (LANIE).
I studied at the University of Alicante, in Spain, where I got my PhD in Chemistry, more precisely on food analysis by chromatography and elemental analysis techniques.
Then, I went to Geel, in Belgium, where I held a three-year postdoc position at the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) – an institute belonging to the European Commission-Joint Research Centre. I developed elemental and isotopic analysis methods adapted to microsamples, so I gained expertise in that field. Afterwards, I heard about a position at CEA/LANIE thanks to a colleague at IRMM. I applied and got an interview before signing a contract within the framework of a project about uranium toxicology. I started at CEA-Saclay in October 2014.
Shortly after my arrival at CEA, the coordinator of the toxicology programme told me about Enhanced Eurotalents, and suggested that I should apply.
With my team, we are working on a multidisciplinary project aiming at developing analytical methodologies for the study of the neurotoxicological effects of small amount of natural uranium. We are all exposed to uranium, which is present in our environment (in food, water…), thus reaching our organism. We get rid of most of this substance in our body through urines but a small amount remains and can reach the brain. Observations made on war conflict veterans, exposed to internalized fragments of depleted uranium shrapnel, have led to suggest neurocognitive impairments in some of these individuals. . Studies performed on animals have identified the uranium accumulation in the brain and the alteration of neurological functions after exposure to this heavy metal. However, not much has been proved regarding the effects of low uranium concentrations on neuronal cells. We are developing different analytical tools to follow different parameters during the in vitro exposure of neuronal cells to low concentrations of natural uranium. The aim is to combine the information obtained from analytical and toxicological approaches for a better understanding of the interaction between natural uranium and human neuronal cells.
There are two aspects that I really enjoy about CEA. First, the top-level technical resources I can use. There is a lot of instrumentation and facilities which enable all the experimentation we need to conduct research. The other aspect which is really enjoyable is the incredible human resources. As I said, the project I am working on is multidisciplinary. Consequently, we need researchers specialized in different areas, namely, analytical chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology.
The Enhanced Eurotalents programme is a very good postdoctoral opportunity, thanks to which I was able to extend my stay here to conduct further research.
Moreover, thanks to the programme, I got the opportunity to attend four-day training about career development at INSTN (CEA-Saclay); it was very interesting and useful to me. I learnt how to improve my cover letter and CV and how to behave during a job interview. It was something that I had never learnt at university or during my PhD.
Culture-wise, I love French culture and I adapted really well to living here. Work-wise I really enjoy the atmosphere in my laboratory, where I am learning every day. I work only with French people (we are a group of about ten people). This way I can improve my proficiency in French.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.