Final Preparations: Lindau Calling! (#LiNoEcon)

In just a few days, Lindau’s Stadttheater (= city theatre) will open its doors to a week full of inspirational exchange and education. We, the organising team of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, are very much looking forward to having this incredible number of bright minds here on our small island.

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 25.06.2017, Lindau, Germany

The 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences will take place at Lindau’s city theatre. Photo/Credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

By now, you’ve probably gone through the numerous phases of preparation, perhaps even packing. So let us give you some last minute guidance and lists for repacking your gear.

 

The Programme

Perhaps you’ve already gotten around to checking this year’s meeting programme. If not, don’t worry – here’s the link to the full programme booklet.

22.08.2014 Lindau, Germany,  5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences  5. Lindauer Tagung der Wirtschaftswissenschaften Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Laureate Peter A. Diamond at #LiNoEcon 2014. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Getting Here

We do not organise any shuttle buses to Lindau; thus, you will have to organise your trip to Lindau yourself.

Most likely, you’ll be arriving in Lindau by train. All airports you might be flying into offer connections to “Lindau Hbf” (the train station to head to) via train. You can either buy a ticket at the train stations or via www.bahn.com. You have arrived in Lindau as soon as you see water to your left, to your right and in front of you. Welcome to Lake Constance!

 

Registration

In order to take advantage of everything Lindau has to offer, you need to register with us and get your conference materials. Upon registration, you will receive your name badge, which indicates to our staff which events you will attend, your personal agenda, the final programme and more.

Registration of young economists will take place in the city theater (Stadttheater) and will open on Tuesday, 22 August from 10.00 hrs until 20.00 hrs and Wednesday, 23 August from 7.30 hrs until 18.00 hrs. Please note that you will have to show a valid ID at the registration desk.

 

Everything Else You Need to Know

The opening ceremony starts on Wednesday at 9.00 hrs, and the Stadttheater will open its doors at 8.00 hrs. Seats have to be taken by 8.45 hrs. For security reasons, it is not allowed to bring any large bags. For your convenience, there will be space to store your luggage securely just outside the Stadttheater at the Turnhalle (the primary school gym opposite the back entrance of the theatre). You will need to present your name badge and a valid ID-card in order to get access.

For a Google Map with all the important places in Lindau, please click here (or check the meeting app):

 

 

What to Bring & What to Wear

There is no dress code for the regular scientific sessions. For invitational dinners, you may want to bring something more festive (suits, cocktail dresses). As the lake is great for swimming, you may want to bring swim wear. Some of the local swimming pools even offer free entrance for the participants of the Lindau Meeting. Sunscreen and mosquito repellents are a good idea as well. 

Make sure to bring comfortable shoes that are suitable for cobblestone roads and various weather conditions. A hairdryer may be useful as well as a voltage converter (220 volts) or adapter as German socket-outlets vary from those abroad.

Over the last years, one of the events has become particularly popular among all participants: the “Bavarian Evening” supported by the Free State of Bavaria. For this, it is a great idea to wear a traditional festive costume from your home country. Those of you who own a traditional Bavarian costume (Dirndl dress or Lederhosen) are more than welcome to wear that instead.

 

At the Bavarian evening, everyone is invited to wear the traditional outfit of their home country. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

At the Bavarian evening, everyone is invited to wear the traditional outfit of their home country. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Morning Workouts

For those of you participating in the morning workouts: please bring comfortable sportswear, a towel and sturdy sneakers. Water bottles will be provided upon registration.

 

Internet & Phones

The meeting venue is equipped with wireless LAN (WiFi). Special log-in credentials will not be required – just follow the instructions.

It’s always helpful to bring along your mobile phone so that we will be able to contact you easily. To use a mobile phone in a German network, it needs to support the GSM standard (used all over Europe). The German country code is +49.

 

Lindau, Germany, 22.08.2014. 5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences/5. Lindauer Tagung der Wirtschaftswissenschaften. Science Breakfast UBS , Roger Myerson (2.v.l.) Picture/Credit: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Laureate Roger B. Myerson at the 5th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences. Photo/Credit: Rolf Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Emergencies

In case of an emergency at the main meeting venue, please contact the staff. Please note that our staff is not authorised to hand out any medication. A paramedic team is present at the meeting venue and can help with all health-related issues. If you have an emergency at a different location, please either contact any of the staff if present, or call 112, the official emergency number that will work in all of the EU countries and in Switzerland. During the meeting, you will be covered by a health insurance policy provided by the organisers.

 

The Meeting App

There will be a conference app available at the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences. All the information from this post can also be found there (…and more). For an in-depth explanation on how to get started with the app, please refer to my colleague Christoph’s guide.

 

Last but Not Least

If you want to get a taste of the “Lindau spirit” prior to the meeting, you are invited to take a look at our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter (@lindaunobel) and Instagram (@lindaunobel). Throughout the week of the meeting, we will try to post as much interesting content as possible via #LiNoEcon, this year’s official hashtag. Do join the conversation – we’d be happy!

My colleagues and I will be happy to assist you at the Young Scientist Help Desk, should you have any questions. It is going to be a great week, so let’s make the most of it!

And finally, if you haven’t seen them yet, take a look at our new bags, which will soon be yours ;-)

 

Lindau Calling #LiNoEcon

Nadine, Karen and Nesrin – always there to help you out during your time in Lindau! Photo/Credit: Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings 

 

An Effort to Make an International Conference More Sustainable

Maybe it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about meetings and conferences, but these events often leave colossal carbon footprints. Think about the CO2 emissions of hundreds (for really big conferences even thousands) of people that travel by car or plane, think about a sea of mostly plastic trash, and think about countless pages of printed out conference materials. Worrisome, right? And these are only some of the more obvious ecological aspects.

 

View on Lindau Island. Credit: Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

View on Lindau Island. Credit: Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

In 2015, on the occasion of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 36 Nobel Laureates signed the Mainau Declaration on Climate Change. Subsequently, 40 more Nobel Laureates added their names to the list of signatories. On 7 December 2015, the declaration was handed over by Nobel Laureates Serge Haroche and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji to the then President of France, Francois Hollande, as part of the successful COP21 climate summit in Paris. Within this declaration, the laureates warn of the danger of climate change and urge all countries to cooperate and find a way to limit future global emissions. Therefore we, as an organisation, are obliged to contribute to this purpose, too.

“In many lectures and discussions, Nobel Laureates like Christian de Duve, Steven Chu, Mario Molina, Brian Schmidt and others emphasised the importance of acting sustainably and responsibly. We therefore see this as an obligation for our work in organising the meetings,” says Wolfgang Huang, Managing Director of the Executive Secretariat of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. That’s why several years ago the idea of “green conferencing” became a new focus of attention during the planning of the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

Katja Merx, project manager of Lindau’s conference management, is responsible for incorporating sustainability aspects into the planning of the meetings. “To me, it was only natural to devote myself to this issue in my working environment, too. I have been following the principle of sustainability for years in my private life, anyway,” Katja remarks. It’s not all about environmental protection though, according to Katja: “Many people tend to forget that sustainability also includes economic and social aspects – and we’re steadily trying to increase our efforts in these areas, too.”

We review all measures each year in the early planning phase of a meeting and try constantly to explore further possibilities within the limits of what we can do as a non-profit organisation. These are the measures we will take in 2017 in an effort to make the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences more sustainable:

  • All electricity used for the meeting is provided by the Lindau municipal utilities, which run on 100% green energy
  • Young economists may use Lindau’s public bus system during the meeting week for free
  • The shuttle service for the Nobel Laureates partly consists of hybrid cars
  • Meeting bags are produced from sustainable materials
  • Meeting lanyards are produced from materials that are 100% recyclable, and no plastic covers are used for the name badges
  • Meeting tents: flysheets and floor coverings are reusable
  • All tents use energy saving lamps
  • Catering: regional and seasonal food
  • Mineral water is provided in glass bottles in order to avoid plastic trash.  
  • Local companies are selected for services such as catering, technical support or logistics
  • The proportion of printed conference materials is reduced to a minimum, and instead we make an advanced use of online devices 
  • Young economists are encouraged to use Atmosfair for their flights (details below)

 

If you can’t avoid it, compensate!

 

logo_atmosfair_EN_blue_font

 

An international conference can hardly avoid CO2 emissions caused by air travel of its participants; however, there is the possibility of making up for that by donating money to climate friendly projects. For this, we are partnering with the trusted German NGO Atmosfair. They offer a service that calculates the CO2 emission generated by your flight as well as the amount of money that should be donated in turn to climate protection projects to equalise these emissions.

If you are considering using Atmosfair for your Lindau flights, we would like to ask you to please use the embedded form below. This way, we will be able to analyse how many of our meeting participants are actually making use of Atmosfair (you can change the language settings on the bottom right of the window): 

 

We encourage all participating young economists to consider using this service for their travel to and from Lindau. As travel is organised by the young economists themselves, this is of course absolutely voluntary.

#LiNo17 Daily Recap – Sunday, 25 June 2017

“I close my remarks by asking the young students gather this week at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting to consider joining the effort to combat climate change.” – Steven Chu

Yesterday, the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting started in grand fashion with the festive opening ceremony featuring the warm and heartfelt welcome address by Countess Bettina Bernadotte and a very poignant and moving keynote by Steven Chu. The Nobel Laureate himself was, unfortunately, unable to attend, but his fellow laureate William E. Moerner luckily stepped in to deliver the powerful speech on “Science as an Insurance Policy to the Risks of Climate Change”.

 

Video of the day:

“A changing climate does not respect national boundaries.”
First highlight is Steven Chu’s keynote, read by William Moerner. Chu addressed the highly topical issue of climate change and reminded all of us how important it is to treat the earth well.

Obviously, this is not the only video from yesterday and today! You are more than welcome to browse through our mediatheque for more.

 

Picture of the day:

Standing Ovations
William Moerner’s presentation of Steven Chu’s keynote was one of the most moving moments.

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 25.06.2017, Lindau, Germany

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, 25.06.2017, Lindau, Germany

For even more pictures from the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, past and present, take a look at our Flickr account.

 

Blog post of the day:

“A Stellar Meeting Where the Stars Shine Bright, the Science Is Chill, and the Networking Is Chem-Tastic.”
Another highlight is the blog post from science writer Alaina G. Levine. She is back in Lindau for #LiNo17 and gives a preview of the panel discussion on science careers that she will chair on Thursday (replacing Karan Khemka).

Do take a look at more exciting blog posts.

 

Tweets of the day:

 

 

Last but not least, follow us on Twitter @lindaunobel and Instagram @lindaunobel and keep an eye out for #LiNo17

 

Over the course of the next six days, we will keep you updated on the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting with our daily recaps. The idea behind it is to bring to you the day’s highlights in a blink of an eye. The daily recaps will feature blog posts, photos and videos from the mediatheque.

On the Trail of Nobel Prizes

The new Lindau Science Trail serves as a permanent embodiment of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, their history and first and foremost makes “Nobel knowledge” accessible to everyone. The Lindau Science Trail can be followed not only by those living in and around the picturesque city of Lindau; visitors from all over the world can go on their very own journey of discovery. 
On knowledge pylons that are spread out all around Lindau, one can learn more about the everyday applications of scientific phenomena. And who knows, there might just be a Nobel Laureate waiting around the corner in Lindau you surely can’t rule it out.

Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

The knowledge pylon at the harbour of Lindau. Picture/Credit: Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

The Lindau Spirit for everyone

Knowledge should be freely available to everyone at all times. This credo is at the heart of the philosophy of the Foundation and the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
For more than 65 years, Nobel Laureates and young scientists from all over the world have come together in Lindau once a year to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The “Lindau Spirit”, which inspires the participants year after year, can now be experienced on the Lindau Science Trail by everyone throughout the entire year.
The Lindau Science Trail consists of a total of 21 knowledge pylons, 15 of which can be discovered on the island of Lindau. On the mainland of Lindau and on Mainau Island there are three pylons each waiting to be explored.

 

This map shows the locations of the different knowledge pylons which can now be discovered on the island of Lindau. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

This map shows the locations of the different knowledge pylons which can now be discovered on the island of Lindau. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

The Knowledge Pylons – Something for Everyone

At the knowledge pylons, explorers big and small can learn more about various scientific discoveries and about the different Nobel Prize disciplines in English as well as in German. The pylons cover the three natural science disciplines – Physics, Chemistry and Physiology/ Medicine – as well as Peace and Literature. Two knowledge pylons explain economic theories in a manner which is easily understandable; two others provide insight into how the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings started and tell the story behind the Nobel Prizes. You don’t have to be a science expert to understand the explanations on the pylons. The Lindau Science trail addresses grown-ups as well as children. There is a special children’s section on every pylon.

Spotlight on the “Lindau” Nobel Laureates: The Nobel Laureates that have visited the Lindau Meetings thus far will be honoured at one central spot: on the “kleiner See” that separates mainland Lindau from Lindau island there will soon be a pier where the names of all the Nobel Laureates who have already visited the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings will be listed – more than 450 laureates.

 

Virtual Science Trail: Discovering Science With the App

A dedicated app will allow you to meet the Nobel Laureates virtually on the Science Trail. At six different locations, virtual Nobel Laureates explain why they have received the Nobel Prize. You can even take a selfie with them!
The app also gives you the opportunity to test your freshly acquired ‘Nobel Knowledge’. While ‘hiking’ on the Science Trail you can try to answer the numerous quiz questions. The Rallye can only be taken right on the spot, not at locations remote from the Lindau Science Trail – an open invitation for all science enthusiasts to come and visit Lindau and take the chance to meet Nobel Laureates.

Picture/Credit: preto_perola/istockphoto.com, illustrations: eatmefeedme; editing: rh

With the Lindauer Wissenspfad App, one can test one’s knowledge. Picture/Credit: preto_perola/istockphoto.com, illustrations: eatmefeedme; editing: rh

Download the App here.

 

Experience the Lindau Science Trail Back Home or in Your Classroom

Those who cannot physically come to Lindau can still discover the town, the Nobel Laureates and their research by virtually walking along the Science Trail and visiting the pylons in the app. Teachers can use it in the classroom as well.

If the Science Trail is also available virtually what’s the point in taking a field trip to Lindau and experiencing it first-hand? In addition to jointly completing the Science Trail and the Rallye, a surprise is waiting for all students here in Lindau. Teachers, who are interested in a school field trip to Lindau, may contact the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings for more information and additional material.

Pupils exploring a knowledge pylon. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Pupils exploring a knowledge pylon. Picture/Credit: Lisa Vincenz-Donnelly/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

The realisation of the Lindau Science Trail was enabled by the support of the city of Lindau and the Prof. Otto Beisheim Stiftung.

 

Guided tour for #LiNoEcon participants: Tuesday, 22 August 2017 at 16.00 hrs (starting outside the main entrance of the city theatre)

Den Nobelpreisen auf der Spur

Der Lindauer Wissenspfad macht ab sofort die Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen, deren Geschichte und vor allem das „Nobelwissen“ für Groß und Klein sicht- und (be-)greifbar. Auf den Spuren von Nobelpreisträgern und ihrer Forschung können alle Lindauerinnen und Lindauer, aber auch Gäste aus der ganzen Welt, auf Entdeckungstour durch Lindau gehen. An insgesamt 21 Wissenspylonen lernen sie dabei mehr über wissenschaftliche Alltagsphänomene. Vielleicht kommt dabei auch der eine oder andere Nobelpreisträger um die Ecke – in Lindau immerhin durchaus denkbar…

Die Leuchtturmstele am Lindauer Hafen. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Die Leuchtturmstele am Lindauer Hafen. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Der Lindau Spirit für Alle

Wissen sollte immer und überall frei zur Verfügung stehen. Das gehört zum Kernanliegen von Stiftung und Kuratorium der Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen, zu ihrer Mission Education. Die Idee zum Bau des Lindauer Wissenspfades ist daraus entstanden. Die Stadt Lindau hat sie bei der Umsetzung unterstützt.
Schon seit über 65 Jahren kommen in Lindau einmal im Jahr Nobelpreisträger und junge Nachwuchswissenschaftler aus der ganzen Welt zusammen, um sich auszutauschen und voneinander zu lernen. Der Lindau Spirit, von dem die Teilnehmer dabei inspiriert werden, soll jetzt auf dem Lindauer Wissenspfad für jeden und vor allem das ganze Jahr über erlebbar sein.
Der Wissenspfad besteht aus insgesamt 21 Wissenspylonen, 15 davon können auf der Lindauer Insel entdeckt werden. Auf dem Lindauer Festland und auf der Insel Mainau stehen jeweils drei Stelen zur Erkundung bereit. Auf der Karte sind die einzelnen Standorte auf der Lindauer Insel zu sehen.

Die Karte zeigt die verschiedenen Standorte der Wissenspylone, die ab sofort in Lindau entdeckt werden können. Picture/Credit: Archimedes Exhibitions GmbH

Die Karte zeigt die verschiedenen Standorte der Wissenspylonen, die ab sofort in Lindau entdeckt werden können. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Für jeden etwas dabei – die Wissenspylonen

Auf den unterschiedlichen Pylonen lernen kleine und große Entdecker wissenschaftliche Begebenheiten aus den Bereichen der Nobelpreisdisziplinen kennen und verstehen: es gibt Physik-, Chemie-, und Medizinpylonen, aber auch eine Friedens- und eine Literaturstele. Zwei Wissenspylonen erklären Theorien aus den Wirtschaftswissenschaften, zwei weitere Stelen erläutern, wie die Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagungen entstanden sind und was sich hinter dem Nobelpreis verbirgt. Man muss kein Naturwissenschafts-Experte sein, um die Erklärungen auf den Pylonen zu verstehen. Der Wissenspfad richtet sich an viele unterschiedliche Menschen; die Kinderspuren auf jedem Pylon bringen das ‚Nobelwissen‘ auch den jüngsten Forschern näher.

Natürlich bekommen die Nobelpreisträger auf dem Wissenspfad einen besonderen Platz: auf den Stelen wird nicht nur ihre Forschung sicht- und erlernbar gemacht, zukünftig werden sie an der zentralen Station auch besonders geehrt: Auf dem kleinen See wird es in Lindau bald einen Steg geben, der die Namen der Nobelpreisträger verzeichnet, die schon einmal in Lindau zu Gast waren. Und das sind schon mehr als 450 Laureaten!

 

Virtueller Wissenspfad: Mit der App auf Entdeckungstour

In Zukunft kann man den Nobelpreisträgern auf dem Wissenspfad auch virtuell begegnen. Die App macht das möglich: an sechs verschiedenen Standorten erklären virtuelle Nobelpreisträger, wofür sie den Nobelpreis bekommen haben. Sogar ein Selfie mit Preisträgern ist möglich!
Entlang des Wissenspfads können alle ‚Wissenspfadler‘ das Erlernte in der Rallye testen und über Quizfragen knobeln. Dafür muss man allerdings vor Ort sein. Damit möglichst viele Leute den Weg nach Lindau aufnehmen und den Wissenspfad auch in echt kennen lernen, werden die virtuellen Nobelpreisträger und die Quizfragen nämlich nur am Pylonenstandort freigeschaltet.

Mit der Lindauer Wissenspfad-App kann man in der Rallye z.B. Quizfragen beantworten. Picture/Credit: preto_perola/istockphoto.com, illustrations: eatmefeedme; editing: rh

Mit der Lindauer Wissenspfad-App kann man in der Rallye z.B. Quizfragen beantworten. Picture/Credit: preto_perola/istockphoto.com, illustrations: eatmefeedme; editing: rh

 

Der Wissenspfad auf dem Sofa oder im Klassenraum

Aber auch diejenigen, die nicht nach Lindau kommen (können), haben die Möglichkeit, einen Blick auf Lindau, die Nobelpreisträger und ihre Forschung zu werfen: sie können den Wissenspfad zuhause virtuell ablaufen und die Pylonen in der App abrufen. Das können sich auch Lehrer im Unterricht zu Nutze machen.
Der Wissenspfad lädt Schulklassen aber auch explizit ein, nach Lindau zu kommen und sich auf die Spur der Nobelpreise zu machen. Vor Ort kann man deshalb auch gemeinsam einen Preis gewinnen! Interessierte Lehrer können sich gerne mit dem Kuratorium für die Tagungen der Nobelpreisträger in Lindau in Verbindung setzten und weitere Informationen und Materialien erhalten.

Schüler an einem Wissenspylon. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Schüler an einem Wissenspylon. Picture/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Ermöglicht wurde der Wissenspfad durch die Unterstützung der Stadt Lindau und der Prof. Otto Beisheim Stiftung.

Spotlight on Women in Research at #LiNo17

Many talented female researchers are among the young scientists of #LiNo17. In this interview series, they answer questions about their career path, their passion for science, their struggles and successes and give advice to other women in research.

Get inspired by Karen from Belgium, Jana from Lebanon, Katherine from the UK, Sheela from Malaysia, Shiran from IsraelThao from the US and VietnamFlorencia from ArgentinaMarian Nkansah from GhanaAnna Eibel from AustriaJulietta from ArmeniaHlamulo from South AfricaHira from PakistanAndrea from the USMonika Patel from IndiaAndreia from PortugalDiana from Colombia, Melania from Italy, Emma from SwedenAna from Mexico, Hannah Noa from IsraelEva Maria Wara from BoliviaJulie from the US and Antonella from Argentina

 

 

These interviews are part of a series of the “Women in Research” blog that features young female scientists, to increase the visibility of women in research (more information for and about women in science by “Women in Research” on Facebook and Twitter).

More Female Students Does Not Automatically Mean More Female Academics, Says Andreia de Almeida

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Andreia de Almeida

This interview is part of a series of interviews of the “Women in Research” blog that features young female scientists participating in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, to increase the visibility of women in research (more information for and about women in science by “Women in Research” on Facebook and Twitter). Enjoy the interview with Andreia and get inspired.

 

Andreia_4Andreia de Almeida, 31, from Portugal is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Chemistry (Cardiff University). Her research focuses on understanding the role of aquaporins in health and disease, especially cancer. For this, they use gold compounds designed by the group that are selective and potent inhibitors for these proteins. Additionally, she works in testing new metal-based drugs as anticancer agents.

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in science/chemistry?

I was always a very curious kid and, of course, I also had the traditional microscope that all the scientists had in their childhood. But I have to say that I didn’t always know that this was my passion. I was, and still am, very passionate about all types of arts, especially things that I can make with my own hands. With time, I realised that I liked arts, but mostly as a hobby. I couldn’t picture myself doing it as a career. I then chose a science path for my high school studies and applied for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry and Chemistry. I got into Biochemistry and from then on my love for science truly started.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia De Almeida

 

Who are your role models?

All my role models are women and men I met throughout my life. First of all, my mother, who is a very strong and independent woman. She raised me to become empowered and successful and to never feel less than anyone else, regardless of gender. Growing up watching her managing her own business, full time, while raising two children (after we lost our father, on her own) was definitely inspiring and showed me that we are capable of great things.

Secondly, I studied in a chemistry department that has more female scientists than males (for professors the ratio is about 50:50). The thought that this field could be male-driven never even crossed my mind. I also always worked with female bosses in groups with few men. I think that working in a female environment and with such strong and successful female models as supervisors always helped me to feel confident in my work and in myself. So I can say that all the females who I have worked with up to now contributed a lot to how I perceive science.

one breakthrough that I hope comes soon is a new cancer treatment 

How did you get to where you are in your career path?

As I mentioned before, I did my BSc in Biochemistry and then I did my MSc in Structural and Functional Biochemistry in the same faculty. Moving from one to the other was the easiest choice, as they were organised by the same professors, and the MSc was an extension of what we learned in the bachelor course. When I was finishing my master thesis, I met my current supervisor, who was doing a research stay in our lab at that time. She had a position for a PhD student in the Netherlands opening a few months later. That was a big challenge for me: leaving my boyfriend, family, friends and my home country to move to a new country with a different culture, where I didn’t know anyone. It ended up being a great four years. Since then I am working at the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University, as a Post-Doctoral Researcher, which again took our little family to a new adventure and a new country!

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

 

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

I have to say that the coolest topic I have ever worked on is related to aquaporins. The field is fairly new (a couple of decades) and there is so much to learn and discover that there are always new challenges and new ideas! I am actually really excited to have the opportunity to meet Prof. Peter Agre, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering these little proteins, at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

 The thought that this field could be male-driven never even crossed my mind.

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

 

What’s a time you felt immense pride in yourself/your work?

I think that the time I felt the most proud of myself was the day of my PhD defence. In Groningen, the defense is a public event, very formal, that takes place in an amazing room. After the defense, everyone celebrates and the colleagues of the PhD student prepare a video, illustrating their life during those four years. Having my family there with me, witnessing that day, was one of the best feelings ever.

 

What is a “day in the life” of Andreia like?

This is one of the most complicated questions! My days are never the same, and I think this is why I love what I do so much. One day, I can be working in the lab in the morning, doing different types of experiments, mostly with cells, and then doing some computational work in the afternoon. Some days, I just stay in front of my computer preparing some orders, writing publications or grant applications and correcting student’s reports. Other days, there are seminars, group meetings and meetings with collaborators. There really aren’t days that are like the others! That’s the best part.

 

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

I love the academic world, despite all the politics, and I would love to continue. Ultimately, I would like to become a professor, but the road is still long. I think we have to take it one step at a time and build our own way.

 recruiting female students is very different from increasing the number of female academics

What do you like to do when you’re not doing research?

All kinds of things! I am a blogger/wedding planner, together with three friends, at a blog called Once Upon a Time a Wedding. I have also been a dancer for more than 15 years and I used to teach Salsa and Kizomba during my PhD. Now I have turned to Tango, which is my new passion. Besides that, I love sewing my own clothes (I made my own wedding dress), photographing and painting/drawing. I can’t say I have a boring life!

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

Photo: Courtesy of Andreia de Almeida

 

 What advice do you have for other women interested in science/chemistry?

Most of all: do what you love! It doesn’t matter if there are only few women in that field. It may be hard in the beginning. You have to be strong to fight stereotypes (and some mentalities), but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it!

 

In your opinion, what will be the next great breakthrough in science/chemistry?

This is also a hard question. There are so many things happening at the same time in the most varied fields. I can say that one breakthrough that I hope comes soon is a new cancer treatment. Of course, as scientists, we know that one miraculous treatment is a utopian thought. However, an effective treatment for one cancer type, with less side-effects, would already be such a victory! I believe this can come sooner than we expect, as people are trying to repurpose FDA-approved drugs for different treatments than those they were originally designed for.

 

 

What should be done to increase the number of female scientists and female professors?

I think we should start by realising that recruiting female students is very different from increasing the number of female academics. There is actually a big number of female students at universities and some (if not most) European countries have more women than men in higher education. The biggest problem we face is keeping them in academia. I think the biggest challenges reside in showing women that the universities support them – with maternity leave, childcare, among other issues. These issues are not exclusive to women of course, but they do affect women more. When women don’t feel supported, they have a harder time at work and often feel like they have fallen behind their male colleagues (this is often potentiated by bosses and supervisors). Having a good support system in place and making sure that every person is treated fairly (regardless of gender) is a very important step to keep women in academia.

Final Preparations: Lindau Calling! (#LiNo17)

In just a few days, Lindau’s Stadttheater (= city theatre) will open its doors to a week full of science, inspirational exchange and education. We, the organising team of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, are very much looking forward to having this incredible number of bright minds here on our small island.

 

26.06.2016, Lindau, Germany

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will take place in Lindau’s city theatre. Photo/Credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

By now, you’ve probably gone through the numerous different phases of preparation, perhaps even packing. So let us give you some last minute guidance and lists for repacking your gear.

 

The Programme

Perhaps you’ve already gotten around to checking this year’s meeting programme. If not, don’t worry – here’s the link to the full programme booklet.

 

65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Lindau, Germany Wednesday, 91/07/2015 Lecture Martin Chalfie Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie at #LiNo15. Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Getting Here

As there will not be any shuttle buses to Lindau that are organised by us, you will have to organise your trip to Lindau by yourself.

Most likely, you’ll be arriving in Lindau by train. All airports you might be flying into offer connections to “Lindau Hbf” (the train station to head to) via train. You can either buy a ticket at the train stations or via www.bahn.com. You have arrived in Lindau as soon as you see water to your left, to your right and in front of you. Welcome to Lake Constance!

 

Registration

In order to take advantage of everything Lindau has to offer, you need to register with us and get your conference materials. Upon registration, you will receive your name badge, which indicates to our staff which events you will attend, your personal agenda, the final programme and more.

Registration will take place in the gym of the primary school (Turnhalle) opposite the back entrance of this year’s meeting venue Stadttheater and open on Saturday, 24 June from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m and Sunday, 25 June from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Please note that you will have to show a valid ID at the registration desk.

 

Everything Else You Need to Know

The opening ceremony starts on Sunday at 4 p.m., and the Stadttheater will open its doors at 3 p.m. For security reasons, it is not allowed to bring any large bags. For your convenience, there is a depository truck where your luggage will be securely stored just outside the Stadttheater next to the Turnhalle. You will have to have your name badge and valid ID-card with you for access.

For a Google Map with all the important places in Lindau, please click here (or check the meeting app): 

 

What to Bring & What to Wear

There is no dress code for the regular scientific sessions. For invitational dinners, you may want to bring something more festive (suits, cocktail dresses). As the lake is great for swimming, you may want to bring swim wear. Some of the local swimming pools even offer free entrance for the participants of the Lindau Meeting. Sunscreen and mosquito repellents are a good idea as well. 

Make sure to bring comfortable shoes that are suitable for cobblestone roads and different weather conditions. A hairdryer may be useful as well as a voltage converter (220 volt) or adapter as German socket-outlets vary from those abroad.

Over the last years, one of the events has become particularly popular among all participants: the “Bavarian Evening” hosted by the Free State of Bavaria. For this, it is a great idea to wear a traditional festive costume from your home country. Those of you who own a traditional Bavarian costume (a Dirndl dress for women and Lederhosen for men) are more than welcome to wear that instead.

 

At the Bavarian evening, everyone is invited to wear the traditional outfit of their home country. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

At the Bavarian evening, everyone is invited to wear the traditional outfit of their home country. Photo/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Morning Workouts

For those of you participating in the morning workouts: please bring comfortable sportswear, a towel and sturdy sneakers. Water bottles will be provided upon registration.

 

Internet & Phones

The meeting venue is equipped with wireless LAN (WiFi). Special log-in credentials will not be required – just follow the instructions.

It’s always helpful if you bring along your mobile phone so that we will be able to contact you easily. To use a mobile phone in a German network, it needs to support the GSM standard (used all over Europe). The German country code is +49.

 

Money

The currency used in Germany and many European countries (except Switzerland) is the Euro. Money can be exchanged at airports or at local banks. Credit cards (e.g. Visa, Mastercard) and Maestro/EC cards can be used to withdraw money from ATMs (called “Geldautomaten”) using your PIN. Please check the map to see where to find the nearest ATMs. Cheques and traveller cheques have become rather uncommon and are hardly accepted anywhere.

 

Nobel Laureate Steven Chu talking to young scientists at #LiNo16. Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nobel Laureate Steven Chu talking to young scientists at #LiNo16. Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Emergencies

In case of an emergency at the main meeting venue, please contact the staff. Please note that our staff is not authorised to hand out any medication. A paramedic team is present at the meeting venue and can help with all health-related issues. If you have an emergency at a different location, please either contact any of the staff if present, or call 112, the official emergency number that will work in all of the EU countries and in Switzerland. During the meeting, you will be covered by a health insurance policy provided by the organisers.

 

The Meeting App

As last year, there will be a conference app available at this year’s Lindau Meeting. All the information from this post can also be found in there (…and more!). For an in-depth explanation on how to get started with the app, please refer to my colleague Christoph’s guide.

 

Last but Not Least

If you want to get a taste of the “Lindau spirit” prior to the meeting, you are invited to take a look at our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter (@lindaunobel) and Instagram (@lindaunobel). Throughout the week of the meeting, we will try to post as much interesting content as possible via #LiNo17, this year’s official hashtag. Do join the conversation – we’d be happy!

My colleagues and I will be happy to assist you at the Young Scientist Help Desk, should you have any questions. It is going to be a great week, so let’s make the most of it!

And finally, if you haven’t seen them yet, take a look at our new bags, which will soon be yours ;-)

 

Nadine, Nesrin and Karen – always there to help you out during your time in Lindau! Photo/Credit: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

Andrea d’Aquino Didn’t Think She Would Ever Attend University

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Andrea d’Aquino

This interview is part of a series of interviews of the “Women in Research” blog that features young female scientists participating in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, to increase the visibility of women in research (more information for and about women in science by “Women in Research” on Facebook and Twitter). Enjoy the interview with Andrea and get inspired.

 

Picture: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Andrea d’Aquino, 26, from the United States of America is a PhD Student at the Northwestern University, Illinois, USA. She conducts research on coordination-driven, supramolecular chemistry, which is really the study of the interaction of metals with organic compounds, to form structures that can perform useful and interesting chemistry (such as catalysis, sensing and detection, to name a few).

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in science/chemistry?

It wasn’t until late into my college education that I decided to take general chemistry. I believe I was in my junior year (most students take general chemistry in their freshman year). I was terrified of chemistry and of most science courses; however, when I sat down for my first general chemistry class my mind was opened to a new way of solving problems and a new way of understanding the world. This was an incredibly inspiring moment for me. Even though I struggled with exams and homework assignments, I was motivated to better understand the world through science.

 

Who are your role models?

I have so many role models in my life, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them. My greatest role models have really been my parents. They have taught me through example and have encouraged me to be ambitious and tenacious and challenged me to be thoughtful in everything I do, and they inspired me to pursue my wildest dreams with unrelenting determination. My other role models have been my older siblings and my identical twin sister, who have always challenged me to be better and to pursue my dreams with passion. My parents and siblings have been great role models and teachers in my life, and I will always be thankful for their love and support.

My high school teachers at Squalicum High School, have also been incredible role models to me. Without my high school teachers I may have never decided to pursue a college education. My college chemistry professors and, in particular, my research advisor Professor Bussell at Western Washington University played a critical role in my life. I never would have considered pursuing chemistry as my field of study, and never would have known how to conduct research, ask questions and solve problems in the lab without his leadership and guidance.

 

How did you get to where you are in your career path?

My journey to where I am today has been an unprecedented one; therefore, my story is a complicated one. I am a first-generation college student and the youngest in a family of seven (youngest along with my identical twin sister). I am originally from La Mesa, CA, but when I was ten years old my family moved to Bellingham, WA where I attended middle school, high school and eventually college. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and I certainly never thought I would be pursuing my PhD in chemistry.

I never could have imagined having the opportunity to attend college — let alone graduate school

I really enjoyed school while growing up — I have always loved learning new things, solving problems and being creative. Although I yearned to one day attend college, my dreams seemed far from my reach because of the financial demand and because no one in my family had a college education. I began working when I was 14 years old when I applied for and received a job picking up garbage along Interstate-5. This was a way for me to earn money and help support my family. Throughout high school I worked a variety of jobs to help support my family, and toward the end of my high school education I had a unique opportunity to get involved with a volunteer program with the local police department where I began learning and training for a career in the police force. Although this was an incredible experience that had profound impacts on my life, I still yearned to pursue higher education and earn a college degree. My aspirations to pursue a college education came with great support of my high school teachers and family, and together my twin sister and I decided to apply to college. I applied for many scholarships in hopes of receiving help with paying college tuition and was lucky enough to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Without the help of this scholarship, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

 

I settled on attending college in my home town at Western Washington University, where I was able to save money and help my family. My entrance into Western Washington University (WWU) coincided with an intrigue and passion for patterns and problem solving. My passion for problem solving, coupled with a desire to make a positive impact on society and the world, drove me to pursue science. Upon completing my first chemistry course, I came to realise that the problem solving which truly inspired me involved reactions between molecules. My desire to study chemistry led me to conduct research in the lab of Professor Mark Bussell. In the Bussell lab, I pioneered research on heterogeneous catalysts for the production of ultra-low sulfur fuels and renewable biofuels. Although I faced many obstacles throughout my undergraduate career, conducting research at WWU was the pinnacle of my undergraduate experience and was the impetus in my decision to pursue graduate school in the field of chemistry.

With the support of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, I chose to broaden my chemical knowledge and skills, and pursue a new field of chemical research for my graduate education. I am continuing my chemistry training at Northwestern University (NU), where I am currently conducting organometallic research in the lab of Professor Chad Mirkin. My research focuses on developing novel materials using coordination chemistry, for applications in catalysis, biological sensing and detection. My work in graduate school has opened my mind to a greater world of science and has inspired me to work even harder to solve world problems with science.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

 

A theme that I have come to recognise throughout my life and educational career has been that mentorship and role models have played a crucial role in my success as a scientist and independent learner. I never could have imagined having the opportunity to attend college — let alone graduate school — however, with the help, guidance and encouragement from teachers, mentors and role models, I have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams and make meaningful impacts on the world through science. The profound impact that mentorship and role models have had on my life has motivated me to give back to the scientific and general community through mentorship and outreach. For the past three years, I have been an active volunteer with Jugando con la Ciencia (playing with science), which is a program aimed to promote science in the Hispanic communities around Evanston and Chicago, IL. I lead science lessons in Spanish at Washington Elementary School, and teach students about diverse topics in science two to three times a month. Through JCLC, I also organise community outreach events such as the Evanston Arts and Science Fair at the Evanston Public Library. Additionally, I helped organise and implement the first HerStory event in collaboration with the Museum of Science and Industry. This event was geared toward middle and high school females and involved a scavenger hunt around the museum where they learned about famous women in various fields of science. The goal of this event was to inspire the next generation of women in science by teaching them about the many influential women who have profoundly impacted science and by allowing them to discover more about themselves. Being a first-generation college student, a woman and an underrepresented minority in science, I have come to appreciate the importance of mentorship. Promoting and inspiring women and minorities in science is important to me because I may not have otherwise pursued science – without inspiring teachers, leaders and mentors. For these reasons, I have taken leadership of many outreach efforts geared toward underrepresented minorities and women in science.

My ambitions of attending college brought with it unremitting obstacles; it took tenacity, but more importantly, great mentorship and role models, to overcome adversities as diverse as registering for my first college course to joining a lab. I hope to continue growing as a student, mentor and scientist, and pursue my dream of being a chemistry professor and a mentor to other students.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

 

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

It is hard to say which project has been the coolest to work on — each project is different and unique. I really enjoyed the project I worked on as an undergraduate which involved the synthesis of nickel phosphide hydrotreating catalysts. It was a really incredible experience to be able to synthesise, characterise and then test the catalytic activity of my catalysts, and to see their real-world applications. But it has also been a great experience to work on more fundamental and exploratory chemistry in graduate school.

 

What’s a time you felt immense pride in yourself/your work?

I am very proud of the work I have accomplished in both my undergraduate research and the work I am currently conducting during my PhD. I never could have imagined that I would have the chance to be a scientist, let alone pursue a PhD in chemistry. It gives me great pride to conduct chemistry research, to solve problems through science and then to share that knowledge with others.

 

What is a “day in the life” of Andrea like?

Gosh, a day in my life is so unpredictable! I think that this may be because graduate school is so unpredictable! Grad school can be stressful, so I like to start my day with a relaxing cup of tea and occasionally a morning run. I bike to work each day (sometimes even in the middle of Chicago winters), and typically respond to emails and get set up for the day. Usually, I will plan experiments the day before and have all chemicals and glassware set and ready to go the next day, that way I can get to work and set up a reaction of an experiment as soon as possible. Throughout my day I tend to have one or two meetings and balance those with lab work, responding to emails, reading papers, writing and discussing science with my lab mates. I typically get home in time for a late dinner, at which point I am almost always too tired to do anything other than relax and fall asleep. My days can be busy and stressful, but I enjoy the intensity and excitement of conducting new and exciting research.

I want to help people and positively impact the world through science.

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

Broadly, I am — and have always been — seeking to positively impact the world by helping people and solving problems. In terms of my career, I believe that I can accomplish this through mentorship and leadership as a professor. It is still a little too early for me to say decisively what it is I want to do with my life after graduate school, but I do know that whatever I do or wherever I go, I want to help people and positively impact the world through science.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not doing research?

I have many passions outside of my work. The world is a great place with many opportunities and many things to learn. In my free time, I enjoy cooking new and exotic foods, reading, writing, painting, running, playing tennis with my identical twin sister, playing volleyball, volunteering, dancing, exploring the great outdoors, and trying new restaurants. There are so many activities I enjoy, but never enough time to enjoy all of them!

 

What advice do you have for other women interested in science/chemistry?

I can’t identify just one single piece of advice to pass along to other women in science, because there are so many important lessons/pieces of advice that I have learned or have been given that I think are important to pass along. Therefore, my advice is three-fold:

(1) Never give up on your dreams — the sky is your limit.

(2) Be ambitious and unafraid of failure or tribulations.

(3) Keep an open mind.

These pieces of advice have so far served me well, and even now I still remind myself to keep these lessons and pieces of advice in mind and apply them to my own life.

the next great breakthrough in science will be solving the world’s environmental and global energy problems

In your opinion, what will be the next great breakthrough in science/chemistry?

I believe that the next great breakthrough in science will be solving the world’s environmental and global energy problems. I believe these are big issues facing our world and many scientists are working relentlessly to solve them.

 

What should be done to increase the number of female scientists and female professors?

The lack of females in science is of course a multifaceted problem. I think that one thing we need to do in order to increase the number of females in science is begin with grassroots efforts. We need to encourage and inspire girls to pursue science at a young age. We need to support all women and minorities in science and in higher education, and establish environments that are accepting of all backgrounds. I believe that there are many women (and minorities) who have the desire to be a scientist, but have been discouraged in a variety of ways. We must support women (and minorities) throughout all stages of academics, and make sure that we continue to maintain this support in higher education and beyond.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Women in Research: Specific Funding Needed, Says Hira Khalid

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Hira Khalid

This interview is part of a series of interviews of the “Women in Research” blog that features young female scientists participating in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, to increase the visibility of women in research (more information for and about women in science by “Women in Research” on Facebook and Twitter). Enjoy the interview with Hira and get inspired.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

Hira Khalid, 30, from Pakistan is an Assistant Professor in Department of Chemistry at the Forman Christian College University Lahore, Pakistan. She is working on the synthesis of biologically active heterocyclic compounds. The synthesised compounds are characterised by different spectroscopy techniques and then screened against various enzymatic activities to evaluate their biological potential. She develops molecular models by performing docking studies of potential compounds from the series. The findings enable her to establish structure activity relationships, which are a main step for drug discovery.

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in science/chemistry?

Firstly, my parents induced love for science in me by developing reasoning and curiosity about life in my childhood – curiosity of finding the answers of questions such as “Why do trees have green leaves?”, “How can a patient be cured with a medicine?”, “How can milk transform into yogurt?”, “Why can I see different colours in a fire work?” or “How do things look different in colours?”. Another great observation was that when I put water into the freezer it forms beautiful crystals of different shapes. There is a long list of smart questions that are answered by chemistry.

So after completing my matriculation in science, I chose the pre-medical for Chemistry and Biology. I was admitted to the BSc Chemistry and then the MS and the PhD in Chemistry which was truly because of my interest and love for chemistry and desire for solving problems to serve humanity.

 

Who are your role models?

Many great people have inspired me as role models and they are in different fields of life. There are males and females who have influenced me: Einstein, Ms. Fatima Jinnah, Celion Dion, Operah and many others. Dr. Andrew J Boydston (University of Washington, Seattle), Dr. Aziz-ur-Rehman (GC University Lahore), who were my research supervisors have influenced me a lot; they are working with excellence in their field of chemistry and in their personal life.

In the field of chemistry, Madam Marie Curie, Robert Thomas, Stephanie Louise, Kwolek, Rosalind and Elsie Franklin have had a strong impact on my passion for chemistry. Though there are many other great women in chemistry, and it is hard to confine with few only. I like women who pursue their education and career along with their family commitments. They have faced all the hardships and resistance because it has never been easy for a woman to pursue her dreams. It is worth mentioning that as a woman in general my role model is my grandmother, who raised my mom with best traits and education even though being a single parent and without any financial support. My mother is my role model because she worked hard for carrying her education and then continuing her higher education with children and job but of course that was not possible without support of my father. She groomed us with all the best.

 

How did you get to where you are in your career path?

In light of my background in chemistry, I did my BSc (Hons.) Chemistry in 2005 and then MS in Chemistry in 2008 at the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Punjab with specialisation in Analytical Chemistry under supervision of Prof. Dr Jamil Anwer Ch. During my MS, I not only learnt the classical and modern techniques but also got the privilege of working with the latest instruments, e.g., HPLC, FTIR and the GFA-Spectrometer. I got a First Class in my BSc Hons. As well as my MS degree and continued my academic career with First Class results.

After the MS, I received the Indigenous Research Scholarship for PhD from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC). I did my PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Department of Chemistry, GC University Lahore in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Aziz-ur-Rehman. The aim of my PhD research work was to synthesise novel compounds exhibiting diverse and improved pharmacological potential with an objective to search new contenders of drug with enhanced activity, which could be helpful in controlling many degenerative diseases.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

I was awarded the “Best PhD Scholar of the year 2011-2012” award by the departmental research committee on extraordinary research work in the first year of my PhD. I was awarded International Research Support Initiative program award (IRSIP) to work with Boydston research group in University of Washington Seattle USA for six months as international student intern in 2013. I had the privilege to work under the supervision of the distinguished Dr Andrew J Boydston on self-immolative polymers. I used advanced equipment and got expertise in instruments such as GC-MS, AV-300, 301, 500 NMR and dry box. I was the first and only Pakistani student who got the opportunity to work at the University of Washington, Seattle as international student intern during my PhD where I not only improved my skills in chemistry but have also learnt a lot about lab management, adaptation to different culture, socialising and interacting with people internationally. I participated in ICPAC 2012, which was organised in Mauritius, where I was the only Pakistani student who gave an oral presentation among 350 participants from 72 different countries. I was included as international advisory member for ICPAC 2014.

I have served GC Women University Sialkot, Pakistan as Assistant Professor for Chemistry from May 2015 to January 2017. I am an HEC approved research supervisor. I am affiliated with a number of national and international societies, i.e, IUPAC young fellow since 2010 till now, member American Oil’s Chemist’s Society (AOCS), life time member Chemical Society of Pakistan (CSP), American Chemical Society (ACS) Chemistry Ambassador, I have worked as Coordinator Chemistry award of National Academy of young scientists (NAYS) of Pakistan 2010-2013. I have more than 25 international research publications on my credit.

I like women who pursue their […] career along with their family commitments.

Currently, I feel proud to serve the Forman Christian College (FCC), a chartered University as an Assistant professor. FCCU has been served by a large number of distinguished educational leaders and teachers throughout its history. Dr CW Forman, Dr Sir JCR Ewing, Dr CH Rice, Dr ED Lucas, Dr SK Dutta, Dr HC Velte, Dr JH Orbison, Noble Laureate Dr Arthur Compton, Maulvi Muhammad Bakar, Dr HD Griswold, Prof JM Benade, Shamsul Ulema, Maulavi Muhammad Hussain, Dr KC Chatterji, Dr P Carter Speers, Dr SL Sheets, Prof MS Bhatti, Maulana Farzand Ali, Dr RH Ewing, Dr EJ Sinclair, Dr Robert F Tebbe and Dr Carl Wheeless are among many who have impacted the lives of students and shaped the future of the college through the years. Under their leadership, the college became widely regarded as one of the very best in the entire subcontinent.

 

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

The coolest project is the project which I have started in my PhD and now I am advancing that project. It is most inspiring to synthesise poly-functional organic compounds with beautiful and complex heterocyclic rings from simple substrates and then conducting their computational studies in which I can see these synthesised compounds in movement and their 3-D structures, and I can see how they will bind with protein to cure a disease.

 

What’s a time you felt immense pride in yourself / your work?

The day when I got the letter for being selected for the International Support Award by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to work in University of Washington, Seattle which is in the top 30 world ranked universities and I was the only and very first Pakistani who got the opportunity to work in UW.

 

What is a “day in the life” of Hira like?

My day starts at 5 am and I reach my University at 8 am. I make a to-do list for that day, and then I start my tasks. I enjoy teaching my students and then interacting with them regarding their research projects.

Each of my days is different form the other including the experience of class teaching. The exciting thing is this that the whole day is busy with teaching, departmental tasks, mentoring students, looking into results of my experiments and writing them up. To analyse the data after experiments, which involves dedication and mental exercise, is more exciting for me. For me “a day in my life” is a day on which I accomplish my tasks and go through research articles and then on my arrival at home I have quality time with my family.

 

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

There are lot of things to accomplish in a career, completing the on-going projects of Baccalaureate, MS and PhD students as a research supervisor. I am looking forward for my patent, developing the best collaboration with industry so they can invest in research projects which will improve the quality of research in the pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan. I am also planning for prestigious fellowships for post docs, especially the Humboldt/Max Planck fellowship. I also want to participate in international seminars and conferences to present my research work and speak about the role of women in science especially from a developing country which has impression of deprived women.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not doing research?

I like music, gardening, cooking, traveling, eating and playing with kids.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

Photo: Courtesy of Hira Khalid

 

What advice do you have for other women interested in science/chemistry?

If there is a will, there is a way. You can do anything. You just need to be focused and passionate. I firmly believe that if you are honest and genuine with what you want to do and you are not selfish with your loved ones then your family will be your key support and you will achieve all the best in your life in all respects.

 

In your opinion, what will be the next great breakthrough in science/chemistry?

In my opinion, the most emerging breakthrough will be synthetic, responsive biopolymers that can be triggered and stimulated by different factors within body.

Developing countries are facing these challenges even more than underdeveloped ones.

What should be done to increase the number of female scientists and female professors?

We could support female contribution as scientists and as professor by providing the opportunities for studies close to their towns so they face less hardship. The jobs must address the other genuine issues of women as they are playing double role in comparison to men that they have to give full time in their jobs and managing their family life.

There is a great need of providing exclusive research funding and fellowships for women scientists, because they have to struggle much harder for developing research collaborations and then pursuing international funding. In the case of developing countries like Pakistan, we do not have good research funding from local industries and find very few funding organisations that focus on women so that we could benefit by their vision and intellectual capacities.

There is a need to announce research funding for women across the globe by prestigious sponsors of science and education to empower women. Developing countries are facing these challenges even more than underdeveloped ones.