8th Spring School on Immunology (March 11-16, 2012)

May 18, 2012Education Committee (EDU)

Ettal, Germany
organized by the German Society for Immunology (DGfI)

For the 8th year, DGfI has hosted the Spring School on Immunology in Ettal, Bavaria. In the charming setting of an old cloister, 60 doctoral students and 25 lecturers, experts in their field, come together to discuss the latest developments in Immunology. The Spring School has become well known not only in Germany but also in the international scientific community. The School attracts renowned international speakers to join the leading immunologists from Germany.
The course is now in  high demand, with twice as many applications as available. The direct and intense contact between young students and renowned immunologists leads to lively discussion, often till late at night, and gives the students excellent opportunities for networking early on in their career. Of course there are countless discussions between the students themselves, which surely lead to many co-operations and even friendships. Last year, for the first time, DGfIwas able to invite 3 young scientists from developing countries, in co-sponsorship with IUIS.This year again, 3 students attended the course and their testimonies follow:

Jan Stuchlý, PhD student, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
8spring2012-1“The 8th Spring School of Immunology in Ettal was a wonderful experience. It was perfectly organized and I found all lectures interesting – even those lectures which were beyond my knowledge (probably thanks to skilled lecturers).What I found the most appealing were the “Questions&Answer”s sessions after each block of lectures.
The main benefit for me is probably not usual. – I am a mathematician by education,  although I have studied medicine for a couple of years and have now been studying Immunology for 3 years, and my work is usually rather theoretical. During the lectures I have seen many possibilities where it would be possible to apply rigorous mathematical treatment to improve the understanding of biology. The program of this meeting lead me through various parts of immunology, which I had neglected so far in my research;those lectures made me enjoy this field again. I regret only that Thomas Höfer could not come (considering the slides of his intended talk, it would have ben most absorbing for me to discuss the topic of mathematical biology with him). Nevertheless I was able to learn about another lab working in the field of theoretical immunology.
Another benefit for me was the “practical” – the possibility of getting information about large number of cytokinesamples of interest.
Overall I have to say, that the Spring School in Ettal was definitely one of the best meetings I have ever attended. The proof is, that despite the early start (– I am used to getting up much later) and the demanding program I was not tired during the whole week.
I would like to thank all organizers, lecturers and participant for a really pleasant  week!”

8spring2012-2Filip Petković, Institute for Biological Research Siniša Stanković, Belgrade, Serbia
“My participation in The Spring School on Immunology in Ettal was very useful for many reasons. First, the vast majority of students present at the school were doing their research in Germany. By interacting with them I was able to compare my work and generally the typical work flow at my home lab to those in Germany. Personally, that was very useful and it should be very helpful for everybody coming from ‘’scientifically less developed countries’’. Having opportunity to hear the talks from the top scientists in their fields was great and not to mention what privilege it was to have Mr. Jules Hoffmann among them. First hand communication with the lecturers in the “Questions & Answers” sessions was great, as we could discuss anything with them, considering career planning, their scientific development or issues related to the specific research area. Overall, my impressions of this School on Immunology are great. This kind of events always broaden my horizons and make me think with much more positive criticism when it comes to my scientific work and development.”

8spring2012-3Sheila Ommeh, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BecA), Nairobi, Kenya
“Generally, the course was really great. It was an excellent opportunity for me to meet leading researchers in the field as well as Nobel laureates.
The first day was very interesting since I got alot of insights and the latest information regarding Innate Immunity. Since I work in this area, this day format was very useful for me and I was able to get useful pointers regarding my own research.
The second and last days were abit complicated for me me since I do not directly work with adaptive immunity, autoimmunity and related diseases. Some of the topics presented were very specific and therefore it was not easy to follow. The third day was the most interesting since I came to appreciate the emerging fields in immunology especially epigenetics. And from the poster sessions, I got very useful contributions regarding some of the expression patterns from the results which were attributed to epigenetic factors.
I also enjoyed the poster sessions as well as the meeting with different companies for different products. However, I was somewhat disappointed with the practical session which in my view did not seem to cater to everyone’s needs since we were all at different stages of learning.
Overall, I would recommend the course to my fellow colleagues back in Kenya and Africa and I sincerely wish to thank the IUIS for giving me the scholarship. However, I would wish to see more international faces since I was the only african in the course, but there were many people from Asia.
Many thanks for the opportunity.”




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