Young Scientists Organised a Conference for Their Colleagues from Czechia and Austria

1. Aug. 2019

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The two-day retreat, organised by CEITEC Ph.D. students for their peers, has been a tradition for the past four years.  This year, students decided to join the forces with the Institute of Science and Technology (IST), AustriaInstitute of Molecular Genetics, and Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (IOCB), Czech Academy of Sciences. About 120 young researchers from these institutes  started their summers by meeting in the beautiful Vysočina landscape in Kouty by Ledeč nad Sázavou. The topics of the conference were life science, material science and physics, mathematics, and computer science. The event, where the students were both participants, as well as organisers, was a great opportunity to discuss research, to get inspired and to make new contacts.

We were really happy that we were able to connect all four institutions. There are many similarities between IST and CEITEC, as we are both young research institutes focused on interdisciplinary research that connects life sciences with physics and other research fields. Both institutes of the Academy of Sciences have a big overlap with the research focus of our scientists,” said Zdeňka Pavlačková from CEITEC Central Office, who helped students with organising the retreat.

Six leading scientists from foreign and Czech research institutes gave interesting lectures to the Ph.D. students. For instance, Prof. Martin Fusek from IOCB introduced examples of the translation of results of basic research for human usage (e.g., the use of modified prolactin releasing peptide for the treatment of obesity, diabetes type II, and neurodegeneration).

Poster Session Now Also in Video Form

The hot topic this year was the opportunity to present a video about a lab or research topic. Adrianna Ladungová virtually guided attendees through drug screening in the Functional Genomics lab, and the students awarded her with the Best Poster/Video award. The posters, “ADAPting the mode of migration in dendritic cells” by Nikola Čanigová, and “Multimode fiber-based endoscope for high-resolution fluorescence imaging of bulk tissue” by Tereza Tučková received the Best Poster awards.

The most acclaimed talk was about the structure of the EhV-86 virus. The speaker, Miroslav Homola, explained that this virus endangers regular population explosions of Emiliania huxleyi – the most abundant alga in marine ecosystems that absorbs carbon dioxide, and thus positively influences the global climate. Another fascinating talk was given by Tomáš Skřivan, about developing algorithms for the computer simulation of water waves, which can be used in video games or for visual effects in movies. Both talks were awarded the Best Talk award, and the winners received valuable prizes from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Becton Dickinson, and Měřící technika Morava.

Going Beyond Borders of Regions and Fields

”It was a wonderful meeting and a great opportunity for us to find out about some of the groundbreaking work that students at institutions in Prague and Brno are doing. Since it was such a diverse meeting, there were a lot of 'out of field' talks that were very interesting, that we wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise. It was a really enjoyable and fruitful event, and we hope that this collaborative spirit between IST and organisations within Czechia will continue in the future.”  Victoria Pakusaeva and Laura Burnett, the organisers from IST, summed up their impressions from the event.

”I considered the Ph.D. retreat as an outstanding student conference with a great impact on science and networking,” concluded one of the students in the feedback survey. ”Yes, the retreat is not only important for the exchange of information and knowledge, but also for generating new ideas and creating new scientific contacts that may last for the entire professional career,” added Jaroslav Koča, CEITEC Scientific Director.

What was the viewpoint of Dragana Vukić, the main CEITEC student organiser of the retreat? ”Being an organiser of the Joint Retreat was a challenging step that moved me away from my comfort zone. It was a great amount of work. However, gaining new experiences, meeting and interacting with new people, and especially being part of a great atmosphere during the retreat made up for all of the challenges,” she said.

”We want to thank all of the participants for creating a great atmosphere during the retreat. Special thanks go to all of the sponsors for their generous contributions,” remarked the entire organising team.

You can find more information about the event at: http://phdretreat.ceitec.cz/. Enjoy the photos below.

Photo by Vít Horník