A Doctoral Researcher's Experience in Princeton, New Jersey, US

A Research Stay at Princeton University

October 18, 2023

The ever-evolving landscape of cutting-edge research often demands the synergy of different types of expertise. For one of our doctoral researchers, the research of computational methods for metabolic cybergenetics resulted in a research visit to Princeton University, under the guidance of Prof. José L. Avalos.

From March 1st to May 31st, 2023, Sebastián Espinel Ríos, a member of our international graduate school, delved deeper into the world of optimization, control, and estimation of bioprocesses. With Prof. José L. Avalos, renowned expert in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, the stage was set for the exploration of a computational method for cybergenetic control of synthetic microbial communities. Situated in the prestigious Princeton University, nested in the town of Princeton, New Jersey, this journey proved to be an important chapter in his pursuit of innovation and academic advancement.

Delving into the complexities of the research endeavour, Sebastián Espinel Ríos sharpened a computational method for bioprocesses, focusing on batch-to-batch optimization with model adaptation and leveraging 'exploitation' and 'exploration' properties of Gaussian-process-supported hybrid models. As a simulation case study, he considered the naringenin production using a synthetic microbial community with optogenetic control of growth.

Reflecting on the personal experience, the research stay proved to be more than just a professional endeavour. Sebastián Espinel Ríos cherished the opportunity to foster a robust collaboration with Prof. José L. Avalos. Beyond the scopes of the specific research domain, the exposure to this new environment not only broadened horizons but also helped him to get to know different research topics, outside his area of expertise. He also got to experience a dynamic and vibrant working culture.

When queried about recommending such international research stays, Sebastián Espinel Ríos was absolute in affirming the positive impact of such a journey. Such experiences, beyond being useful for global collaborations, foster personal and professional growth, pushing individuals beyond their comfort zones and exposing a world of new opportunities.

In a heartfelt acknowledgment, Sebastián Espinel Ríos said: “I would like to thank the IMPRS for Advanced Methods in Process and Systems Engineering for the funding and support to carry out my research stay. I encourage all doctoral researchers in the IMPRS to conduct an international research stay during their PhD programs.”


The research experience at Princeton University stands as a testament to the effectiveness of collaboration, the potential of interdisciplinary exploration, and the transformative impact of international research initiatives, representing the steady pursuit of innovation and knowledge creation in academic pursuits.

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