Name: Roland Zonai
Mentor: Antonis Rokas, Ph.D.
My name is Roland and I’m a Biochemical Engineer BSc student at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. I just finished my third year before the start of the VISRA program, and about to start my last semester in September. I’m focusing my research on microbiology, especially the Aspergillus fungi both here and at my home university.
I discovered the VISRA program during my online browsing – I was searching for summer programs focusing on biotechnology especially in the USA. I have never been to the US before and have always wanted to gain experience and compare the possibilities with the EU, that’s why I applied for the VISRA program.
Currently my project is about discovering key evolutionary similarities in the structure of gene clusters regarding various Aspergillus strains from a pure bioinformatics approach – I don’t even wear labcoat during the work.
Besides science, I have always been attracted to business as well, thus after I finish my BSc I want to apply for a Biotech MBA joint degree and get experience about how science is related to that field.
As for Nashville, I was quite surprised after my arrival: as an everyday european being biased about the States, I expected a metropolis with huge skyscrapers and bustling, street life, but Nashville is like a calm, peaceful rural city with a lot of country music and relaxing bars – the exact opposite of what I imagined. However, the life in Nashville cannot be compared to what you can find in Europe; the way how people live their life is totally different. Everyone is really kind and friendly, and it is a must, which you have to experience by yourself!