Advanced Lecture Course 2014: "A Great Opportunity to Interact"

“The course was a great opportunity to interact with leading researches in systems biology and to build up a network of contacts in this field”, said Leila Alexander from ETH Zurich. She was one of 120 PhD students and postdocs from 23 countries, who explored current topics in systems biology at the Advanced Lecture Course in Innsbruck, Austria, in March 2014.

The well-balanced mix of lectures, poster sessions and informal tutorials was well received by the participants and allowed for plenty of interaction between students and experts. Among the speakers were leading international scientists including Markus Covert from Stanford University, USA and Andrew Millar from the University of Edinburgh, UK.

PhD student Andres Gonzalez from the University of Pavia, who had decided to attend based on the extensive program, stated: “The course gave me a good general overview followed by the opportunity to know more about the particular topic in which I was interested in most: kinetic models of gene expression.”

Extensive scientific program
After introducing the participants to the basics in mathematical biochemistry, computing, cell biology and molecular genetics, the scientific program covered topics such as:

  • Cellular decision making
  • Network biology
  • Medical systems biology
  • From molecules to functional phenotypes
  • Systems biology in practice (industry/medicine)

In addition, each student could select 2 out of 12 offered computer practicals and blackboard teaching sessions on topics such as data management or experimental tools for single cell analyses.

The week-long training course also made use of the location in the Austrian Alps, with students and lecturers alike swapping the lecture halls for the slopes to enjoy a bit of skiing in the afternoons.

Uwe Sauer from ETH Zurich, head of the organizing committee and PI of the SystemsX.ch Research, Technology and Development (RTD) Projects YeastX and SignalX, was more than pleased with the event: “In particular, speakers that have never before participated in this course were deeply impressed by the interaction. You could feel the energy between the bright young scientists and top researchers in systems biology.”

The course was supported by SystemsX.ch, ERASysAPP and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF).

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