The second Vienna Doctoral School (VDS) “Molecules of Life” retreat


After a first successful year of “Molecules of Life”, the second retreat was held in Sopron, Hungary.
About 80 PhD students, postdocs and group leaders from institutes across Vienna were among the attendees. The VDS’s main philosophy of promoting interdisciplinary research was reflected in the presence of both students and group leaders from different disciplines, enjoying the opportunity to meet and network at the second retreat.

A boat trip on the nearby Neusiedler See followed by a social dinner further promoted the networking activities on the two-day retreat. The event’s organizer, VDS manager Gerlinde Aschauer, explains: “Organizing and attending the retreat is one of my favorite tasks, as I get to witness everyone coming together, having a good time and enjoying the various activities”.
Three best talk and three best poster prizes were awarded by the attending faculty on the retreat’s final day.

The talk prizes went to Daniel Elsner (Leonard lab) for his talk on the structural basis of kinase activation, to Isabelle Zink (Schleper lab) for telling us about the use of CRISPR to silence genes in Archaea, and to Lucy Sneezum (Kovarik lab) for her talk connecting mRNA decay with inflammation. Poster prize winners were asked to give the audience an elevator pitch of their work.
Madhwesh Coimbatore Ravichandran (Campbell lab) explained the consequences of chromosomal instability in two minutes, Veronika Nogellova (Martens lab) gave attendees her take of the role of Atg9 in autophagy, and Philipp Janesch (Nagy lab, Arsanis) spoke about virulence factors in Streptococcus pneumoniae lung infection.

An innovative stipend, the “VDS Out of the Box Stipend” was granted to Triin Laos from the Dammermann group. The stipend will allow her to acquire a new tool for the lab’s microscope, with which Triin will be able to track how cellular structures react to temperature changes in living cells.
“This is the best moment of the year for me. I really feel privileged to present these passionate young scientists with the awards,” says Manuela Baccarini, scientific coordinator of the VDS “Molecules of Life”.

Watch Triin's video here: