The Spring School of Immunology (March 13-18, 2011)

August 23, 2011Education Committee (EDU)

Ettal, Germany
organized by the German Society for Immunology – a Stepstone into Immunology



Every year in spring the German Society for Immunology (DGfI) hosts the ‘Spring School on Immunology’ in Ettal, Bavaria. In the intimate setting of an old cloister, 60 doctoral students and 25 lecturers, experts in their field, come together to discuss the latest developments in Immunology.
When the Spring School on Immunology was run for the first time 7 years ago, none of the organizers would have thought that this concept would turn out to be so successful. In the past years the Spring School has become well known not only in Germany but also in the international scientific community. Consequently the School has been able to attract renowned speakers from Japan, the USA, Italy, France and the UK alongside the leading immunologists from universities and research centers in Germany.
The success of the school also shows itself in the continuously high demand, every year there are twice as many applications as there are open spots. 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.
In 2011 we were very happy to be able to invite 3 young scientists from developing countries, co-sponsored by IUIS and the DGfI: Mr. Pavel Belousov from Moscow State University, Ms Aleksandra Popov from the Institute for Biological Research “Sinisa Stankovic”, Serbia, and Ms Pimpayao Sodsai from Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand. We hope that the school has given them and all the other participants great insights into immunology, has allowed them to talk to peers as well as renowned scientists about their own work, get new ideas and impulses for their work in future and establish new networks.

The Spring School 2012 will take place in Ettal, Bavaria, Germany, March 11th to 16th.  Further information/registration via


Here are the reports of two of the co-sponsored students:

Aleksandra Popov, PhD student, Institute for Biological Reasearch Sinisa Stankovic, Belgrade, Serbia
“I attended 7th Spring School on Immunology in Ettal, Germany, thanks to a DgfIIUIS stipend. 
The School started with each participant giving a short oral presentation about previous work experience. which was a good way to get to know each other.  For the next five days, I listened the cutting edge immunology. Days were organized in five main topics (Innate immunity, Adaptive immunity, TumorAllergyAutoimmunity, InfectionVaccination, Technology).  About 25 experienced and renowned scientists  presented their work and recent findings. The lectures completed my basic immunology knowledge, and gave me additional information on mechanisms of  T cell diferentiation, regulation, memory, etc. The unique experience for me was the Question and Answer Session at the end of every day lectures, when the participants had opportunity to talk with each professor. Beside information on their work and career, the professors talked about their successes and failures, and decisions they had had to make, something which is of concern for every young scientist. During my poster presentation, I had a few interesting discussions, but  the most interesting for me was the insight into the research of my colleagues from abroad.
Cold Ettal nights were warmed by every night social events, where all participants and professors got together. The organizers put efforts into making our stay in Ettal more interesting by organizing guided tour inside the old monastery walls, where actually the School took place.  Also, we had an organized visit to Schloss Linderhof,  the palace of Ludwig II.
Since I live in a country with limited resources for science, getting the opportunity to attend a school like this was of great benefit for me.  I enjoyed every lecture, and came back home inspired, and more motivated for my future work.’’

Pavel Belousov, PhD student, Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, Moscow, Russia.
 “First, it was a really great experience particularly for me, since it was my first visit of a scientific meeting outside the countries of post-Soviet zone, so many thanks for this opportunity! I was really amazed with nature, architecture, service and people. Concerning the scientific program – it was an outstanding chance to get insights into the cutting edge international research in immunology, straight from the source. Q&A sessions were really wonderful – you should carry on in the same set-up for the next years. However, in my opinion, there was a profound
bias towards basic T-cell immunology, whereas certain aspects of modern immunology, such as for example, immunology of B-cells, biotechnological aspects of immunology, clinical and translational immunology, tumor immunology etc. – were poorly represented, not to say
absent. Nevertheless, I learned much during this school, and it will certainly help me in planning my future research and especially in my educational activities, giving me the opportunity to put the “alive” cutting edge science into the scaffold of basic immunological knowledge in our
lectures, seminars, journal clubs etc. Thank you again and best wishes! ”

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