Choosing the Right Mentor is Most Important, Says Lindau Alumna

Interview with Lindau Alumna Floryne Buishand

This interview is part of a series of interviews of the “Women in Research” blog that features young female scientists participating in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, 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 Floryne and get inspired.

 

Floryne Buishand, 30, from the Netherlands, is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Cancer Institute/NIH, Bethesda, USA, studies genomic changes associated with endocrine cancers with the ultimate goal of identifying novel diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as novel therapeutic targets. One of her special interests is the field of veterinary comparative oncology: the study of naturally occurring cancers in pet dogs provides a suitable model for the advancement of the understanding, diagnosis and management of cancer in humans. Floryne participated in the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

 

Floryne Buishand

What inspired you to pursue a career in science?

My background is in veterinary medicine. When I started at vet school, I was convinced that I would become a small animal veterinarian in private practice, because this had always been my dream. However, during college I was selected to participate in the Honors Program of Utrecht’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. This program is an additional year on top of the normal curriculum, and it is 100% research focused. During that year I got inspired to pursue a career in translational science. I realised that solely practicing veterinary medicine would eventually become too much of a routine for me; however, research would always stay challenging. The combination of clinic and research was very appealing to me, because on the one hand I could immediately contribute to curing small animals by practicing, and on the other hand I could contribute to potential future anti-cancer therapies through my research. Also, it would allow me to formulate fundamental research questions based on clinically relevant problems, take these to the lab, and eventually translate the research findings back to the clinic. Since I was fortunate enough to get good results from my Honors Program research, after obtaining my DVM degree, I was able to continue this research project as a Ph.D. candidate. I obtained a grant from The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, and this allowed me to perform my Ph.D. research alongside my clinical residency in small animal surgery.

 

Who are your role models?

Obviously, I’m thankful to my parents. Without their support I wouldn’t have been in the position that I am in now.

On a professional level, I have many role models. To name a few that I have met personally, I’d like to start with late Prof. Wim Misdorp, who was one of the founding fathers of veterinary comparative oncology. He was the first veterinarian to receive a grant in comparative cancer pathology at the Dutch Cancer Institute and the Queen Wilhemina Cancer Foundation, which resulted in his Ph.D. thesis in 1964 “Malignant mammary tumors in the dog and the cat compared with the same in women”. During his impressive career he has established collaborations between human hospitals and veterinary practices and he was the first to get a dual professorship at Utrecht’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, both in the Pathology Department as well as in the Small Animal Medicine Department. Standing with one leg in the pathology lab and with one leg in the clinic, he was able to further integrate these two disciplines. Other role models are Profs. Douglas McGregor and David Fraser, who have established the Veterinary Leadership Program at Cornell University. This unique summer research experience combines faculty-guided research with student-directed learning through participation in modules, workshops and group discussion that encourage responsible leadership, critical thinking and the development of teamwork skills. Over the last 28 years, Douglas McGregor and David Fraser have inspired many veterinary medicine students, including myself, facilitating career counselling and promoting the professional development of programme alumni as independent scientists and public health professionals.

Finally, thinking of strong women in science, I consider late Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini as a role model. She was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of Nerve Growth Factor. At the time of her death, aged 103, she was the oldest living Nobel Laureate. Besides her outstanding research accomplishments, she also served in Italy’s Senate as Senator for Life and she has a foundation to support African women with potential for scientific accomplishment. I like her quote: “Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them.”

 

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

During the final phase of my Ph.D., I realised that it would be important to gain research experience abroad, in order to build a successful scientific career. I always had NCI/NIH at the back of my mind, since I had visited NIH once in 2009, as part of a workshop of the Veterinary Leadership Program.

When I participated in the 2014 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, I met Prof. Jens Habermann from Lübeck University. We shared similar research interests, so he invited me to give a lecture in Lübeck in 2015. It turned out that he had performed his postdoc at NCI and when he learned that I was looking to do a postdoc abroad, he connected me with Dr. Thomas Ried, his former postdoc supervisor at NCI. I applied for a Rubicon grant from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research, and luckily this grant was honoured to me. That allowed me to start my postdoc at the Ried lab in 2016. Later this year I will start a new challenge at NCI as postdoc in the lab of Dr. Electron Kebebew.

 

Promotie Floryne Buishand (2)

 

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

Each project is different and has its own charm. Something that I very much enjoyed was one of the final projects during my Ph.D. In this project, we identified CD90 as a putative cancer stem cell marker in pancreatic endocrine cancer. Using a zebrafish embryo xenograft model we also demonstrated that anti-CD90 monoclonal antibodies decreased the viability and metastatic potential of insulinoma cells, suggesting that anti-CD90 monoclonals form a potential novel adjutant therapeutic modality. Obviously, this therapy is still far from the clinic. However, with my clinical background I also tremendously enjoy projects that are closer to the clinic. Therefore, I enjoyed my recent rotation at NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) very much, too. During my time at CTEP, I reviewed letters of intent for clinical trials and clinical trial protocols, and made improvement recommendations. It was very satisfying to realise that many people could already benefit from these clinical trials within 1-3 years, and even more people in the future if these drugs make it through Phase III trials.

 

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

It’s not my personality to feel immensely proud of what I do, or maybe this moment is yet to come. However, I’d like to rephrase: if that moment comes, I would be proud of the team work and not of my work alone, since science is ultimately a team effort. I tend to be my own devil’s advocate, always critically reviewing my work, looking for ways to improve. Although, I don’t feel pride, I can be very happy about work-related things. The happiest moment was during my Ph.D. defence. It was wonderful to end a period of hard work with a ceremonial defence in the midst of family, friends and colleagues.

 

Floryne Buishand (2)

 

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

On a regular day I get up at 6 am, eat breakfast and go to the gym. I have started going to the gym every morning – weekends and holidays included – after I arrived in the U.S., and I haven’t missed a single day since. It’s a great way for me to wake-up and get energised for a productive day. I bike to NIH and normally start around 8 am. In the lab I am able to immediately start with my experiments, since I plan them ahead of time. I try to get as many experiments running in parallel in the morning. During protocol waiting steps I send emails, search papers or write manuscripts or grant proposals. However, if I really have to focus on writing, I’d rather do that at home, where I can focus better. If I am not having lunch with co-workers, I eat lunch in 5 min at my desk; it’s a habit that still persists from the time I was on clinics. I could probably make more time for lunch, but I like to keep going. During the afternoon I am finishing my experiments. The time I actually finish depends on the things I am working on that day, but usually I don’t have to work late on experiments. When I am finished I go home, make dinner or go out for dinner to meet friends. Bethesda is well known for its many restaurants, and I have made it my goal to eat at every one of them – I am getting there. After dinner I usually work a little more on emails, manuscripts or grants, and often my husband and I finish the day watching a good series. It’s too bad that we have to wait until 2019 for the final GoT season…

 

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

My short term goals for my postdoc are to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as novel therapeutic targets, leading to several high impact first authored publications. Also, I am aiming to establish an endocrine cancer comparative oncology consortium. Clinicians and investigators in the fields of veterinary and human endocrine oncology, clinical trials, pathology, and drug development will be joined in this consortium, in order to improve knowledge, development of, and access to naturally occurring canine endocrine tumours, as a model for human disease. Canine and human comparisons represent an unprecedented opportunity to complement conventional endocrine tumour research paradigms, addressing a devastating group of cancers for which innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies are clearly needed. A clinical trial testing an agent in dogs can run between one and three years, whereas human clinical trials stretch between 10-15 years. Comparative oncology research could help by integrating results from canine trials into human trials, thereby speeding up the whole drug development process.

In the long term, I would like to keep contributing to the improvement of current cancer treatment modalities, either by running my own lab, or by coordinating a clinical therapeutics development program, like the work that is being performed at NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.

 

Floryne Buishand

 

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

Back in The Netherlands, I used to play the piano a lot. I have been playing since I was five years old and although I did get the chance at the conservatory to pursue a career as a professional pianist, this has never been my dream. It’s great as a hobby, and I do miss having a piano here in the U.S. Furthermore, I love to be active: besides going to the gym, I am playing tennis and I love to hike, especially in the National Parks. So far, I have visited ~35 of them, and I am looking forward to add two more during our upcoming road trip through Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming Utah and Arizona.

 

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

Historically, gender stereotypes in science have impeded supportive environments for women faculty. Stereotypes not only affect the social interactions and external evaluations of a stereotyped individual, but can also affect that individual’s performance. Social science research suggests that women’s perceptions of their environments are influenced by stereotype threat: the anxiety faced when confronted with situations in which one may be evaluated using a negative stereotype. For instance, it has been demonstrated that women perform worse on math tests when reminded of their gender, like older adults perform worse on memory tests when reminded of their age. So first of all, women should try to prevent that stereotype threat influences their perception of the environment. Since gender stereotypes should not be an issue, I would give women the same advice as men: the most important thing that someone interested in science should think very carefully about is who they will choose as a mentor. A mentor will have a big impact on the future career of a young scientist, both through an inspirational experience and through the practical benefits of vocational planning. Training decisions should only be made after discussing scientific interests and objectives with trusted advisors and individuals currently in training. Individuals contemplating graduate training should be advised to seek relevant information concerning prospective mentors, including a prospective mentor’s training record, his or her academic progression and productivity, the journals in which he or she has published, and peer regard as reflected in the frequency with which his or her published papers are cited in the scientific literature.

 

Promotie Floryne Buishand

 

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

CRISPR/Cas9 is a hot genome editing tool that was first reported in 2010 as a programmable system for creating DNA cuts at desired locations in prokaryotes. Since then, the system has been adapted enabling its use in eukaryotic cells. So far, CRISPR/Cas9 has been successfully used in vitro and ex vivo for editing, regulating and targeting genomes. The next step would be to use CRISP/Cas9 in vivo, because it could be the next breakthrough in cancer treatment. All cancers harbour multiple mutations that cause uncontrolled cell proliferation. With CRISPR/Cas9 these mutations could be corrected directly in cancer patients. However, before CRISPR/Cas9 makes it to the clinics, obviously some challenges still need to be solved, like off-target effects and efficiency and specificity of in vivo CRISPR/Cas9 delivery methods.

 

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

During the last two decades, women have already made substantial progress in several science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Female assistant professors are now at or above parity in psychological science and in most social sciences, and they are approaching parity in biological sciences. However, women remain less numerous at senior ranks in all fields. For example, females make up more than half of biomedical science undergraduate (58%) and postgraduate (53%) degrees but only 18% of full professors in the biomedical science. Apparently, women leave science at the transition from a mentored to an independent stage of their careers. These transition points along this career path offer a target to prevent the loss of highly trained women scientists.

One strategy to keep women on board is to provide specific “women in science fellowships”. At NCI the Sallie Rosen Kaplan postdoctoral fellowship for women in cancer research, provides additional mentoring opportunities, seminars, and workshops designed to strengthen leadership skills over a one-year period, which should enable female postdoctoral fellows to feel better equipped to transition to independent research careers.

Other strategies that could stimulate women to stay in science are a) various forms of flexibility with federal-grant funding designed to accommodate women with young children keeping these women in the game; b) increasing the value of teaching, service, and administrative experience in the tenure/promotion evaluation process; c) providing on-campus childcare centres; d) supporting requests from partners for shared tenure lines that enable couples to better balance work and personal/caretaking roles; e) stopping the tenure clock for one year per child due to childbearing demands; f) providing fully-paid leave for giving birth for tenure track women for one semester; g) providing equal opportunity for women and men to lead committees and research groups.

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 

 

Why Every Young Scientist Should Apply for the Lindau Meeting

Over the last two months I have interviewed several young scientists who participated in #LiNo17 for my “Women in Research” blog – a blog to increase the visibility of women in research. Now after the meeting I contacted them again and they shared their #LiNo17 highlights and impressions with me. Enjoy!


Andrea d’Aquino from the US 

As I sat through each of the Nobel Laureate’s talks, I found that there was a common thread among each of their stories and lessons: persistence, tenacity, creativity and enthusiasm are key ingredients to success. With or without the Nobel Prize, each of these individuals persevered through challenges and remained curious about science; it was with a bit of luck and an immense amount of hard work that these scientists were able to achieve great discoveries and earn the Nobel Prize. Their stories have resonated with me and inspired me to never give up and to never lose sight of why I pursue science: to better understand the world. The Lindau Meeting was a unifying and inspiring experience. The chance to meet these great scientists in person allowed me to better understand and appreciate them not just as Nobel Prize winners but as people who have overcome many of the same obstacles we all face in science every day. They have shone a light on both scientific and political issues facing our world, and have addressed the many personal hurdles they have overcome throughout their careers.

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Nobel Laureates and young scientists including Andrea (front) during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Andrea d’Aquino

Along with meeting these inspiring scientists, I am so grateful for the many friendships I have made with students from all around the world. On the final day of the trip, we travelled to Mainau Island and back. On our way back, students from all around the world joined together for an afternoon of dancing and celebrating. This experience was clear evidence of the great friendships and bonds we had built on our trip. Students from all around the world connected over science, food and dancing, and I will always deeply treasure those friendships I made.   

This experience has made a profound impact on me and on my outlook on science and research. I think it’s incredibly important that young scientists — and in particular women and underrepresented minorities in science — have the opportunity to be involved in such an inspiring event. 

Read more about Andrea


Anna Eibel from Austria

Anna with Nobel Laureate Ben Feringa during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Anna on a panel with Nobel Laureate Ben Feringa during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

For me, the Lindau Meeting was a very special meeting. Here, we did not discuss any particular research field in detail, as is typically done at scientific conferences. Instead, we discussed the global issues we face in science – ranging from climate change, green chemistry, carbon dioxide recycling and renewable energies to personalised medicine, antibiotic resistance and many other globally relevant topics, as well as science careers. The broad diversity of research topics introduced in the lectures of the Nobel Laureates gave the input for these “big picture” discussions, and I was impressed by the motivation and passion most of the laureates still show after many decades of doing research.

I particularly enjoyed connecting with the other young scientists, and I became aware of many interesting research fields and opportunities for potential future collaborations and career steps. I think participating in the Lindau Meeting is an excellent opportunity for getting inspired and connecting to scientists all over the world.

Read more about Anna


Antonella Coccia from Argentina

No words can describe the week at the Lindau Meeting. Well, maybe there is one that keeps sounding in my head: inspired. I feel highly inspired after my week at Lindau. The young scientists and the Nobel Laureates have inspired me in so many ways to pursue my career goals. 

Antonella with Nobel Laureate Mario Molina. Photo: Courtesy of Antonella Coccia.

Antonella with Nobel Laureate Mario Molina. Photo: Courtesy of Antonella Coccia

I attended as an undergraduate student, looking for – among other things – fields where to focus my graduate studies. I have found it, and I have found so many people willing to give me advice about it. 

It was the most unforgettable week. I am impressed by how approachable the Nobel Laureates were. They have shown to be incredibly humble even though they were awarded the most relevant prize in science.  They were always happy to answer my questions and to give me advice for my career.

 I am happy that I had the opportunity to share a week with people who have the same interests as me. I made friends from all around the world who taught me about their culture and were always open to discuss current issues taking advantage of our own different perspectives.

I feel so fortunate that I had the chance to experience the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting and I encourage every young scientist to attend it. It will give you a broader perspective of your career and it will give you the unique chance to be surrounded by the best of science.

Read more about Antonella


Diana Montes Grajales from Columbia

Diana Montes Grajales and Jana Kobeissi during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Diana Montes Grajales

Diana Montes Grajales and Jana Kobeissi during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Diana Montes Grajales

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is extraordinary; it is designed to share the experience and knowledge of the greatest leaders in science, the Nobel Laureates, with the next generation of scientists to encourage us to work hard for the benefit of the world and society. We live in convulsed times in terms of environmental depletion, violence and diseases; and we young scientist are called to help to address all these issues and pursue for a better world. When I applied for this event, I was a young researcher at Universidad Tecnólogica de Bolívar, in Cartagena-Colombia, and I never imagined to be accepted because I thought I was in the periphery of the world, but this is really an international meeting; this year, there were people from more than 70 countries with whom you have the opportunity to talk and plan collaborative work. The organisation and structure of the meeting is great: each of us had a personalised agenda, we had lectures, panel discussions and small group discussions with the Nobel Laureates from key topics in science to life experiences as well as many social activities in which you have the opportunity to interact with both Nobel Laureates and young researchers. Highlights of the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Chemistry were: the importance of developing environmental friendly technologies, working with green chemistry and facing the climate change problem as well as to link society to science, in terms of divulgation and pertinence of the research. There are also specific soft skills to pay attention to in science such as perseverance, passion and ethics. This is a unique experience, I hope you will apply and be the next young researcher in a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting!

Read more about Diana


Emma Danelius from Sweden

Participating in the Lindau Meeting was certainly a great experience in many ways. First, it was truly inspiring to listen to and talk to the Nobel Laureates. They generously shared their exceptional research as well as their life experiences and advice for us young scientists, and I feel really fortunate that I was given the opportunity to partake in this event. 

Photo: Courtesy of Emma Danelius

Emma with Astrid Gräslund, member of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and secretary of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, and other young scientists during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Emma Danelius

The academic dinner was great, with only a few students we got a lot of time to talk to some of the laureates and this was such a memorable night. What I had not expected before attending the Lindau Meeting was the impact that meeting the fellow young scientist would have on me. I was so inspired talking to young scientists from all over the world, all of whom shared the same drive, ambition and passion for science. All these warm, friendly, motivated and interested people created a unique and engaging atmosphere in Lindau, and that together with a great organisation made the meeting so exceptional. I had high expectations before the meeting, yet, they were surpassed. I would encourage every young scientist to use the opportunity to participate in future meetings, it really is a once in a lifetime experience. Especially young female scientist, go to Lindau and meet with other likeminded women like yourselves, with the same ambitions and future goals, it is such an inspiring event and maybe you will end up making some friends for life.

Read more about Emma


Eva Maria Wara Alvarez Pari from Bolivia 

The Lindau meeting has been a long standing intellectual legacy and an opportunity to interact with young scientists from more than 70 countries.  This whole week has reinforced my scientific focus and increased my emphasis in social issues. It gave me the most rewarding experience in my personal life. Nobel Laureates gave me advices to grow intellectually and personally. Running risks in scientific life. The diversity of this meeting has opened me the chance not only to exchange scientific topics of our own research, but it also has allowed me to switch from mine to other fields.

Oleksandra Trofymchuk	and Eva Maria Wara at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Eva Maria Wara

Oleksandra Trofymchuk and Eva Maria Wara at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Eva Maria Wara Alvarez Pari

I was fascinated to get to know more about the Nobel Laureates since I was a child. Unfortunately, in South American countries the chances to meet Nobel Laureates closely are unusual or a matter of luck. Last year, I have heard about eight women who participated in the previous event and it changed my life since then. Now, I cannot believe I belong to that select group of women who have taken part in this meeting. I invite every young scientist around the world to become part of this networking, creating links of scientific cooperation projects. I am pretty sure this event will give your life a 180 degree turn. It is a marathon week of interacting, discussion events with young scientists and laureates which believe it or not, could be extended until midnight.  I reiterate my invitation, and don’t hesitate or tell yourself you don’t feel up to this event. Just apply and give yourself a chance to experiment a transcendental meeting which is waiting for you.

Read more about Eva Maria Wara


Florencia Marchini from Argentina

Before coming to Lindau, I had the silly idea that I was attending a fancy conference and Nobel Laureates were some kind of celebrities that everyone would like to take pictures with. The Lindau Meeting couldn’t have been farther from that. Nobel Laureates not only have enlightened me with their bright ideas but also have touched my heart by revealing their most human side. Every time they showed pictures of themselves as young scientists at the end of their lectures, or talked about being rejected or not having enough money or even of having few time to share with their families and friends, I couldn’t help seeing myself. It was then when I got to understand that they came to tell us that we all are the same, that we all walk in the same direction if we are passionate, if we never give up, if we become experts in what we really like and if we continue in this path even after reaching the top of our careers. 

Florencia (front right) with other young scientists at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Florencia Marchini

Florencia (front, right) with other young scientists at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Florencia Marchini

But close exchange with Nobel Laureates has not been the only amazing experience I have had in Lindau. Sharing one entire week surrounded by young scientist from all over the world and learning that even coming from such different places and cultures we all have similar curiosities, same questions, same difficulties and that we are worried about the same issues, gave me enormous hope and gratitude, as it showed me that science connects us beyond borders and languages, because science is a language itself.

On Saturday at the registration, we were complete strangers to each other. But one week after that, when we left the boat at the end of the meeting, we all felt the power of the wind starting to blow. Something had changed us. We were physically exhausted, mentally blank, emotionally overwhelmed but with the eyes full of pictures and the heart full of hope. We connected, we felt each other.

I am sure that none of us wanted to leave Lindau, but I also think that it was the right time to do it, as we were taking with us the Lindau legacy. Don’t stay locked in the lab, share, connect. Have political awareness as well as social and environmental commitment. Be as persistent as passionate. Don’t feel guilty, feel responsible. Take action, there is plenty of work to do at home. And enjoy science because, as Nobel Laureate Peter Agre said to me, “Science is an amazing trip you will never know where is going to take you”.

Read more about Florencia


Hannah Noa Barad from Israel

I really enjoyed my experience at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. It was an amazing conference, in every aspect.

Hannah Noa during a zeppelin flight at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Hanna Noa Barad.

Hannah Noa during a zeppelin flight at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Hanna Noa Barad

First, the fantastic lectures given by the Nobel Laureates and the discussions that followed, where we were really able to get to know them on a personal level and hear about their life experiences as well as getting good advice from them for our careers. Second, the great networking and willingness to discuss science and get to know young scientists from all over the world was really a wonderful idea, and was truly felt everyday throughout the meeting. Third, the fun dinners and sponsored activities that were held throughout the conference certainly added so much to the whole event, including the panels that were held, which indeed were eye-opening. I feel that if a student or postdoc gets the opportunity to apply and go to the meeting they should do it. I have gained so much knowledge and new friends as well as potential colleagues from this conference, and I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. Don’t miss out on this chance to benefit from getting to know the most amazing scientists and people from around the world, as well as see the beautiful city of Lindau which has been the home of the conference since it was first established. 

Read more about Hannah


Hlamulo Makelane from South Africa

Hlamulo Makelane made closing remarks as a representative of the young scientists at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: lvd/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Hlamulo Makelane made closing remarks as a representative of the young scientists at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: lvd/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was a great opportunity that I will treasure forever in my career path. The Nobel Laureates’ talks, discussion sessions and panels were very informative, interesting, inspiring, and motivated me to continue with my research in sciences. Meeting young scientists from around the world working in different areas of chemistry was amazing. It has broadened my knowledge in the field and made me think about how we can integrate our research through collaboration and explore more ideas that we could apply to our research problems, or ways we could build something together that can be applicable to societal issues. I was not only inspired by the research of young scientists, I also found it exciting to meet people from different countries and cultural backgrounds because in this one week I learned a lot from different parts of the world and I had the pleasure to talk about life itself, not only science. I have made many new friends during the meeting and I would like to keep the network going by staying in touch with them. I did know that the meeting will host young scientists from about 70 countries and around 30 Nobel Laureates; however, being there and experiencing it, I felt like I was surrounded with people who see greatness in one another even when we didn’t see it in ourselves. I was humbled by the opportunity given to me to make closing remarks representing the young scientist at the closing of the 67th Lindau Meeting. This meeting has been truly a wonderful experience for me professionally and personally.

In conclusion, I was impressed by an equal number of women participating in the meeting, and I will strongly encourage other young scientists, especially women, to look forward to this career- and life-changing meeting and apply to participate.

Read more about Hlamulo


Jana Kobeissi from Lebanon

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting had everything that a scientist could ever wish for. Over a course of a few days, you get to attend lectures by and afternoon discussions with the Nobel Laureates themselves, and if you’re lucky enough, you can even share a table with one of them for dinner. The laureates not only discussed science, but also exposed their life experiences leading up to and after winning the Nobel Prize. They emphasised that even they made their own mistakes – had their own ups and downs – but they did not give up. Rather, they pursued projects even if the topics were not “hot” at that moment or even if others did not “believe” in their work. In short, they give you hope and inspiration. You’d even feel the urge to go to the lab RIGHT NOW and carry out experiments.

Jana with Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie. Photo: Courtesy of Jana Kobeissi

Jana with Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie. Photo: Courtesy of Jana Kobeissi

Furthermore, ever since day one, you are surrounded by enthusiastic – and extremely friendly – young scientists who are just as passionate about science as you are. You meet others from very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, with whom you click right away, and as you converse with them and get to know more about their research, you realise just how international science is. The diversity of the participants sharply contrasts with the singularity of the main issue at hand: science!

I urge all scientists to apply to the Lindau Meetings, regardless of age. I am an undergraduate student, myself, and I found the meeting to be tremendously valuable: Now, I am connected with other undergraduates, PhD students, Post Docs, and even an assistant professor from all over the world. I was also fortunate to get worthwhile advice from some laureates regarding my future career in science. Getting this exposure early on, I believe, is very important. Finally, all of the above took place in one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas I have ever seen. All in all, the Lindau experience is perfect!

Read more about Jana


Julietta Yedoyan from Armenia 

Julietta and Nobel Laureate Ferid Murad during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo:  Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Julietta and Nobel Laureate Ferid Murad during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

I heard I lot of great opinions about the Lindau Meeting from different sources, although I would have never imagined that nowadays there exists such a perfectly organised meeting, which brings together so many inspired and motivated people from all over the world to share their ideas and experience. It is an incredibly amazing and unique meeting where the young generation gets a chance to meet Nobel Laureates from different disciplines, getting involved in discussions about research and science in general as well as personal experience of the success which changed the world for the benefit of mankind. Before participating in the Lindau Meeting, I was not sure about the decision to stay in the science, being aware of all the obstacles that I should overcome in the future to establish myself as a scientist, and I was looking for some opportunities in industry, which is not an easy path either but a more or less stable field. However, during the discussion with some Nobel Laureates I got so impressed and inspired by their personalities and their research that I made the decision to totally change my plans about my future and to stay in science. I think being a scientist it is a vocation, it is not an easy path, but well respected. Moreover, the facts that your research can be important and that it can one day change the world to the better motivate me to sacrifice and struggle for the benefit of mankind.

Beside all the Nobel Laureates, I should mention the nice expression of all smart and well educated young people that I had a chance to meet; hopefully, to meet them again in the future and possibly cooperate and collaborate by sharing and exchanging ideas.

Special thank you to DAAD for my scholarship and for this great opportunity as well the whole Lindau staff for their very polite, thoughtful and super nice job!

Read more about Julietta


Karen Stroobants from Belgium

Karen with young scientist Michael Lerch and General-Director of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmed Üzümcü on the Discussion Panel on 'Ethics in Science'. Photo: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Karen with young scientist Michael Lerch and Ahmed Üzümcü, General-Director of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on the Panel Discussion on ‘Ethics in Science’. Photo: lvd/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

What I did on Friday 30th of June 2017, also my 30th Birthday? I woke up very early to walk to the harbour of Lindau, where a three-story boat was awaiting me, and 419 other young scientists. We set off to pick up 28 Nobel Laureates before continuing our trip to Mainau Island, which traditionally hosts the closing sessions of the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings. As I had been invited to be a panellist in the final discussion on ‘Ethics in Science’, I was slightly nervous. I was seated between laureate Martin Chalfie, and young scientist Michael Lerch, and I had the time of my life, answering questions in this amazing setting, and company.

And this was just the end of what became an amazing week, rising well beyond my expectations. Since that Monday, we had all been educated and inspired by the talks and discussion sessions with the laureates; we had truly connected with them, and with each other. Personal highlights were my short talk in Aaron Ciechanover’s Master class, the very kind interactions with Peter Agre and John Walker, but also the many inspiring conversations with fellow young scientists.

Such a unique opportunity, such an inspiring event, and a 30th Birthday I – without doubt – will never forget.

Read more about Karen


Melania Zauri from Italy

Melania and Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel at the Bavarian evening of the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Melania Zauri

Melania and Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel at the Bavarian evening of the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Melania Zauri

Lindau (#LiNo17 for the twitter fans) was an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. I had the opportunity to meet the brilliant minds that shaped most of the science that I learned from the textbooks and to do so in a super informal and friendly environment. Moreover, there were about 70 nationalities and I felt that science provided us with a unified message for the society: facts have to come from good science and politics has to come afterwards. There was only one female laureate and she behaved marvellously showing that what matters is not your gender, but the passion and the curiosity that you can put in what you do. If you have those there will be no barriers to hold you back. I admired the humble attitude of the laureates – great people that in some cases made me cry. For example, Prof. Agre with his family history and the oil pump of his town showing a message of congratulations for the award of his prize, which, as he commented, usually shows only beer advertisements. I appreciated the energy of all of them and the willingness to engage in dialogue with the young scientists. Almost everybody displayed a slide in their presentations with advices for young scientists. The Lindau team was just amazing and for everything you needed they were there with an answer. I would recommend this meeting definitely to everybody who is willing to play the game, to share his/her experience and to get a power charge for the next decades. I think whenever I will think at those moments I will judge them as worth every second and thinking that if these people, despite their old age and their busy schedule came to Lindau for us, my energy and enthusiasm as a young scientist should be enough for the next decades.

Read more about Melania


Monika Patel from India

Monika with Nobel Laureate Ben  Feringa at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Monika Patel

Monika with Nobel Laureate Bernard Feringa at the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Monika Patel

The 67th Lindau Nobel Meeting dedicated to chemistry was a week full of joy, knowledge, motivation, experiences, and inspiring people. Every professor shared their experience of being a Nobel Laureate and they guided the young scientist “how they can become a Nobel Laureate in future”.  It was great to receive tips from Prof. Bernard L. Feringa on being creative: think beyond someone’s imagination, and never give up. However, there is no substitution for hard work.  Prof. Richard R. Schrock was one of the coolest Nobel Laureates, who shared his positive attitude towards life and finding balance in the different phases of your life.  In addition, the meeting comprised several informal events such as the International Get-Together hosted by Mexico at the Dornier Museum, Friedrichshafen, cultural diversity at the Bavarian Evening and a boat trip along with a Science Picnic to the flower island Mainau. These events gave a platform for personal discussions with the laureates and other young scientists from different parts of the world.

But the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was not only academically oriented, it was also a great platform to network with people from all across world. Events like these are really inspiring and give you energy to achieve your goals.

It’s one of the rarest opportunities that one can get in his/her carrier. Therefore, I strongly recommend other scientists to be part of this meeting and to fulfil your dreams.

Read more about Monika


Sheela Chandren from Malaysia

Do you still remember how your first day of school went? Only this time, instead of teachers and new first-graders, the class was filled with the most brilliant people in the world and classmates that are so enthusiastic, you feel like the smallest person in the world. That was how I felt at the beginning of the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. However, as I attended more and more sessions, my opinion started to change. Don’t get me wrong, the Nobel Laureates are indeed wonderfully brilliant and the other young scientists are just pleasant to be around. But through the different sessions carried out, I realised a very prevalent common thing among all of us: the thirst for knowledge.

Sheela Chandren during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Sheela Chandren

Sheela during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Sheela Chandren

Although my level is nowhere near theirs, through their really interesting lectures, it was so fascinating to see how passionate they are in their own fields. I was thoroughly surprised that I enjoyed and understood the lectures that were quite unrelated to my research, such as cells, enzymes and diseases. Many of the laureates were really funny and I especially love how they tried different approaches to make their talk more relatable to us young scientists.

If I had to pick a favourite part, it would definitely be the afternoon sessions. During these sessions, not only were we allowed to ask questions to the Nobel Laureates of our choice, we were also able to get up close to them, hearing about their life experiences and journeys that led them to where they are now. While I am still in awe of them, we realised that they are also humans like us. These sessions managed to give me a new drive so that I am more motivated than ever to try my very best in my research.

So after these six wonderful days on the beautiful island of Lindau, did I get any smarter? Most probably not, although I really hope I did. Have I successfully predicted the next big thing in the world of science? Unfortunately, not yet. However, now I know for sure that I am one step closer to all that. Through this meeting, I found a renewed motivation for my research and I am more passionate than ever to continue exploring science. The other important thing that I came to realise is each and every one who identifies themselves as scientists is part of a very large community, through which we foster the exchange of knowledge.

Hopefully one day I will return to Lindau again – this time as a Nobel Laureate perhaps. Well, a woman can only dream!

Read more about Sheela


Thao Ngo from USA

Thao (front, left) with other young scientists and Nobel Laureate Richard Schrock during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Thao Ngo

Thao (front, left) with other young scientists and Nobel Laureate Richard Schrock during the 67th Lindau Meeting. Photo: Courtesy of Thao Ngo

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was incredible. More than one week after and I still cannot believe I had the opportunity to attend it. During the meeting, I met the most amazing group of people — the laureates, their spouses, young scientists and the organisers of the meeting. I was intimidated at first by the laureates and was afraid of making a fool out of myself. But after talking to them, I realised that there was nothing to be intimidated by because the laureates were there to talk to young scientists like myself to spread ideas and to inspire the next generation of scientists. During the meeting, social issues such as climate change and the current political climate came up quite often; I was extremely privileged to have heard in person the laureates’ opinions. In addition to discussing sciences and social issues with the laureates, I enjoyed talking with their spouses about their backstory. I tend to think of Nobel Laureates as super humans so having learned about their struggles, both in their scientific work and in their lives, I was put in perspective. I especially enjoyed meeting and making new friends from all around the world. I learned so much about research activities and research culture in different countries. One thing I really loved was every time I met a new young scientist, he/she would often say “I’m from here but I’m doing research there.” That was proof that science knows no boundaries and knowledge cannot be stopped at borders. If given the chance to, every young scientist should participate in a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The meeting truly is eye-opening and inspiring, in addition to being held on the beautiful island of Lindau.

Read more about Thao 

Some Surprising Words of Wisdom

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants during the Panel Discussion 'Ethics in Science' at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants during the Panel Discussion ‘Ethics in Science’ at the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

We have had the privilege to take part in an event that I am sure we will talk about for long, and remember forever.

 This week, we have been educated by the most innovative chemists, and scientists, alive today. And where we indeed expected to learn about protein structures, novel methodologies and reaction mechanisms, some other words of wisdom genuinely came as a surprise. Harald zur Hausen, for example, has pointed out to us how important it is to acknowledge all contributors of ones work, whether they are human or collaborating cattle. Dan Shechtman has given us some essential dating advice; “thermodynamically, the perfect partner does not exist”. And according to William Moerner, watching ‘The Simpsons’ should be a fairly accurate method to predict whether one will obtain a Nobel Prize.

 

Martin Chalfie at the Science Picnic with young scientists during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie and young scientists during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

 We have been inspired by Nobel Laureates, who have really engaged with us throughout this week. I personally decided to take up my studies in chemistry after learning about Marie Sklodowska-Curie, and I am sure many of us have been strengthened in our enthusiasm to pursuit the scientific profession after engaging with all the role models we met here in Lindau. In addition to the inspiration we have all gained in our specific fields, I hope we collectively have been inspired to deposit our pre-prints in online archives. Many of us recognise problems in the current academic culture, and let me remind you that we are the next generation of academics, and we have the possibility to reshape this culture. We can start today, and the concept presented by Martin Chalfie can be our first step in this endeavour.

 We have connected, not only with Nobel Laureates but also with one another. All of you have expressed creative ideas, contagious enthusiasm and profound confidence during our conversations. However, I could not but notice that those young scientists who are attracted by the academic career path showed more of this confidence than those who are considering other directions. Of course as Peter Agre mentioned, I hope many of us will reach our scientific aspirations. I want to encourage in particular the motivated women I have met, so that Ada Yonath will over time enjoy female company on the Lindau stage.

 

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants at lunch with Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting , Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Lindau Alumna Karen Stroobants at lunch with Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover during the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting , Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

 

To the few who have, with hesitation, expressed their passion to become a teacher, please remember that Ben Feringa might not have taken up a career in science was it not for his high school teacher. To those who have discussed potential opportunities in the policy field, let me remind you that during the opening keynote lecture of this event, Steven Chu would have liked to tell us that science should always be coupled to society, economics, and politics. We need teachers and policy makers, who advocate for the scientific method, at least as much as we need Nobel Prize winners. So whatever career path you decide on, please let it be a positive choice, and one that will enable you to have fun.

#LiNo17 Daily Recap – Friday, 30 June

The 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting ended with the Baden-Württemberg Boat Trip to Mainau Island. It was a day full of science, discussions, joy, genuine delight and even some tears. Enjoy the highlights of the last day of #LiNo17.

 

Video of the day:

 

“I felt like I had the world in my hands.” – Young scientist Hlamulo Makelane

A definite highlight of the day were the heartfelt closing remarks made in the courtyard of Mainau Castle. You can watch the entire Farewell in our Mediatheque.

Hlamulo

Browse through our mediatheque to find all lectures, discussions and more educational videos from the Lindau Meetings.

 

Picture of the day:

Nobel Laureate Rudolph A. Marcus enjoying the Baden-Württemberg Boat Trip to Mainau Island whilst conversing with young scientists. 

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Chemistry, 25.06.2017 - 30.06.2017, Lindau, Germany, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Boattrip to Mainau Island

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

 

Blog of the day:

For Nobel Laureate Jean-Pierre Sauvage, novelty, teamwork and adventure drove advances in synthesising molecular chains and knots. Read about his work and his advice for the young scientists.

Sauvage

Do take a look at more of our inspring 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

This is the last daily recap of the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The idea behind it was to bring to you the day’s highlights in a blink of an eye. We hope you enjoyed the meeting and wish you all safe travels home.

#LiNo17 Daily Recap – Thursday, 29 June

Thursday was the last day in Lindau but not the last day of the meeting. Friday is going to take the participants to Mainau Island, so while they are enjoying their last day on the picturesque island, let’s take a look at what happened yesterday. Here are our highlights from Thursday:

 

Video of the day:

All six panelists – Nobel Laureates Sir John E. Walker and Dan Shechtman, Wiltrud Treffenfeldt (Chief Technology Officer of Dow Europe GmbH), May Shana’a (Head of Research & Developmen of Beiersdorf AG) and young scientist Thomas L. Gianetti from ETH Zurich as well as chairwoman Alaina G. Levine – have strong opinions on “Science Careers” and gave excellent advise for #LiNo17 participants.

You are welcome to browse through our mediatheque for more panel discussions, lectures and other informative videos.

 

Picture of the day:

Nobel Laureate Peter Agre’s lecture on “Aquaporin Water Channels” was not only educational, but also made the young scientists laugh. Most definitely one of the best pictures of Thursday.

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Chemistry, 25.06.2017 - 30.06.2017, Lindau, Germany, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Audience in Peter Agre's lecture

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

 

Blog of the day:

When Nobel Laureates come to Lindau, photographer Volker Steger presents each with a surprise task. Find out what it is and how the laureates “sketch their science”.

Sketches of Science Slider

Do take a look at more of our inspring 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

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.

 

“It’s Important to Show the Achievements of Women in Science Through the Media” – Antonella Coccia

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Antonella Coccia

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 Antonella and get inspired.

 

Antonella_1

Antonella Coccia, 22, from Argentina is an undergraduate student and researcher at University of Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Antonella is working in biotechnology. More specifically, she is studying how to obtain Lysine (amino acid) through bacterial fermentation. Her country is a food producer and it is looking for more effective ways to feed cattle; however, Argentina doesn’t produce any amino acids (they are imported).

 

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

I was a very curious girl. I was always making my parents tired with the why’s, how’s and for what questions. My father noticed how passionate I got when I learned something new, especially when it was related to science, so he bought me a chemistry set for my birthday. I loved it. It was my first contact with science and I felt that that game satisfied my voracious curiosity. Later, I started high school in a science orientated school. Those years were of a lot of importance to decide my future career. I had the opportunity to visit the school chemistry laboratory for the first time, and it was love at first sight. I started to participate in every science fair, to show my experiments to other kids and to inspire them to join science orientated classes.

 

Who are your role models?

I do not think I have a single role model to follow. In the years that I have been involved in the sciences, I discovered many people and figures who have inspired me in many ways and taught me very valuable things. Like many girls interested in science, Marie Curie is a significant role model for me. I was impressed by how she could set her goals beyond what was known at that time. I admire her ability to build a family along with her scientific career, and how she succeeded in inspiring her daughters so much that one of them later received a Nobel Prize. Finding the balance between having a family and engaging in science is something that I’ve always admired. On the other hand, my parents are also a role model. They have shown me through their years of work how sacrifice and hard work pays off. They are also a major example of overcoming difficulties by believing in themselves. Other role models for me were my teachers, especially my current research director and professor Dr. Pablo Raul Castello who has shown me day by day that the possibilities are endless if one is inspired and passionate enough about his work.

I admire […] how she succeeded in inspiring her daughters so much that one of them later received a Nobel Prize.

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

When I finished high school, I decided to apply to universities in the United States. Therefore, I had to take the SATs but I felt that there was a great gap between my school and the contents of the exams. I had to be an autodidact and work hard to achieve my goal. I was accepted but I couldn’t start my studies abroad due to economic difficulties. I felt that everything had been in vain. Then I entered the University of Belgrano where I am currently studying for the third year of my chemistry major. I found that the knowledge that I had acquired and, moreover, the qualities as a student that I developed as well as the maturity I had gained, positioned me differently compared to the rest of my classmates. I took risks, I wasn’t afraid of that and I sought for what I thought my career needed. That’s how in the second year of my career I was already participating in an investigation in the university laboratory. Those experiences have shown me that sometimes things don’t go the way I want but everything that I’ve learned stays with me and makes a difference in future situations.

 

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

I think that the coolest project I’ve ever participated in is the one that I am part of right now. This project is very dear to me because it’s the first investigation that was entirely entrusted to me. I am working in Lysine production through bacterial fermentation. This is a well-known process around the world; however, we have a different approach and it already has intellectual property. I really like this project because it is applicable to my country’s industry and it could be the answer to the current dilemma of how to produce more and better food. Argentina is a food producer; however, it does not produce the required supplements to enrich the cattle food. Our project can provide those supplements making food production cheaper and creating an inexhaustible source of food enrichment.

 

Antonella_2

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

The first time I inoculated the medium with the lysine producer bacteria. I was very nervous and excited at the same time. I even texted my mom to tell her as a joke that my little babies were growing. Even though the formulation of the medium was the most important part, the bacterial growth was the most decisive stage. I was about to find out if the formulation was correct.

 

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

So, a day in my life starts at 5:30 am when I get up and start to prepare to go to university. I take a bus and a subway which usually takes me an hour. Then I get to University and start my classes. I take classes until 13:00 hrs when it’s time to take a lunch break. At 14:00 hrs I start working at the laboratory, I check on the bacterial growth and the Lysine production. I answer some emails and work on some projects. When I come back home I try to go for a run or to take a gym class. I find it very relaxing. I always eat dinner with my family because it’s very important for me to save some time to share with them. At the end of the day, I study for my classes and complete course assignments.

sometimes things don’t go the way I want but everything that I’ve learned stays with me and makes a difference in future situations

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

Even though I am focusing on finishing my undergraduate studies, I’m looking forward to starting my postgraduate studies, I really want to get a doctorate degree. As for my research goals, it may sound cliché but I would really love to work on a project that causes an impact on society or that gives me the chance to leave something good to the world.

 

Antonella_3

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

When I am not in the laboratory or taking classes I really enjoy going to food truck fairs with my mom or baking for my family. I also like taking dance classes and running because I end up very relaxed and with a clearer mind. Something that keeps me going is doing activities with friends, having a coffee or going for a walk – it’s always great to spend some time with them.

 

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

I think that the most important thing for a woman interested in science is never underestimating herself. There will be people that will discourage you or even yourself will, but it’s important to keep in mind why you are doing what you do. It happens to me sometimes that it feels like I haven’t achieved anything. Other times, I am really lost with my investigation or I get frustrated with grades after extended periods of study but I surround myself with people that really support me and remind me of how much I have achieved and how much I love what I do.

 

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

I don’t think there is a certain answer to this question but if you ask me what I hope will be the next breakthrough in science I would say that I wish a cure will be found for illnesses that cause many deaths around the world such as cancer, leukaemia or AIDS, to name just a few. I think that a lot of research is being done in those areas and it is probable that the next great breakthrough will go in that direction.

 

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

From my point of view, there should be more encouragement for little girls. It’s important to show the achievements of women in science through the media because it avoids the myth that there are not so many women involved in science careers. The young women should see that we are more and more female scientists every day, it’s the best way to inspire them. Another thing that I haven’t seen or heard (at least in my country), and I think could make an enormous difference, is offering science lab as an extracurricular activity. I particularly discovered my love for science when I experienced what it was like being in a laboratory and the endless opportunities that it represented.

Julie Fenton Loves a Challenge, Regardless of Scale

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Julie L. Fenton

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 Julie and get inspired.

 

Julie_1

Julie L. Fenton, 25, from the United States of America is a Graduate Student & PhD Candidate in Chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University, US. She is working in inorganic/materials chemistry. Nanomaterials have garnered intense interest in the scientific community, due in part to their unique shape-, size-, and composition-dependent properties, and emerging technological applications that leverage these properties require nanomaterials with very specific architectures and well-defined characteristics. Colloidal synthetic methods are among the most effective for delivering high-quality inorganic nanomaterials with desirable properties in high yield. However, the complexities of solution-based chemistry limit the ability to predict and rationally target desired products, rendering some materials and morphologies of interest inaccessible. Her work has focused on developing new synthetic and post-synthetic modification strategies in order to produce inorganic nanomaterials with precise control over product morphology, elemental composition, and crystal structure in a variety of material systems. These advances allow them to access metastable materials, morphologic features, and/or complex heterostructures with desired physical and chemical properties, many of which are not amenable to previous synthetic methods.

 

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

I have always had an interest in problem solving and puzzles – I love a challenge, regardless of scale. When I came up against my first chemistry class in high school, thinking about the world on a molecular level intrigued me, and I was hooked. To me, the chemical discipline represented solving some of the most complex and intriguing problems in the world, except that the answer was previously unknown. This was exciting to me as a young person, and the passion only deepened through higher-level study of chemistry through college, and now well into graduate school.

 

Who are your role models?

I have been fortunate enough to benefit from a number of fantastic mentors and role models, scientific and otherwise, throughout my life. My first (and best) role models have been my parents. Through a strong work ethic coupled with the highest value placed on integrity and respect for others, they have demonstrated to me what success in life looks like (which is not specifically linked to career success). Though my parents, who are not scientists, don’t always understand exactly what it is that I’m doing on a day-to-day basis, they are supportive at every step, encouraging me to be the best version of myself in scientific pursuits, but reminding me that the world is larger than just science, and that it’s important to stay grounded in my personal values.

Academically, I am grateful to have benefitted from and been inspired by too many people to name in this discussion, so I will name just two: my current graduate research advisor, Dr. Raymond Schaak, and my first research advisor as an undergraduate, Dr. Richard Schaeffer. These two have been phenomenally encouraging to me, helping me to develop and to think creatively as a scientist, while giving me the space to work independently on projects that I have cared about. Beyond that, they have modelled how one can balance the demands of a career in chemistry with other priorities in life. Conversations with these two have helped me to think broadly about the world and my place in it, going far beyond the expectations I could have asked for from an academic advisor.

 

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

I grew up in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA and did my undergraduate work in chemistry at Messiah College, a small school (~2800 undergraduates only) in Grantham, Pennsylvania, USA. During my second semester as an undergraduate, I began to do research for the first time… I was enthralled by the challenge of research on the cutting edge of science. Research gave me an opportunity to think creatively about the world and the ways in which it works, and my advisor (Richard Schaeffer) gave me ample space to explore and problem-solve independently.

I anticipate working toward developing mentoring programmes to help foster students’ interest in STEM fields at an early age

Like many aspiring U.S. scientists, I participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU), between my third and fourth years of college. As a student coming from a small undergraduate institution, this was my first opportunity to do research full-time, working alongside graduate students and primarily research-active faculty members. As such, this experience was amongst the most formative of my young life as a chemist, igniting a passion for academic research and scientific problem solving on the highest level that will never be quenched. Unlike most undergraduate researchers, however, my REU was conducted at the Université de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, affording me the unique opportunity to live and to conduct research outside of the United States, where I have lived, worked, and learned for my entire life. Even though significant language and cultural barriers existed between the French research group and myself, we forged relationships and collaborations through the common language of chemistry. This is where I first understood and appreciated the international impact that work in science can have: increasingly, we are participating in an endeavour that transcends our national and cultural boundaries, aided by the ease of communication and collaboration. It was (and still is) incredibly exciting to me to contribute, in some small way, to something much greater than myself.

These experiences propelled me into graduate school, beginning in the summer of 2014, where I have been ever since, and will continue to motivate me as I move into the next stages of my career. I’m currently working towards my Ph.D. in materials/inorganic chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, USA under the direction of Ray Schaak.

 

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

I’m probably totally biased, but the coolest work that I have worked on is my current dissertation work. Although it’s really important to be able to control the way that atoms arrange themselves in solid-state materials (because the atomic arrangement, or crystal structure, dictates the properties), the typical high-temperature synthetic methods for making solid-state materials are often limited to obtaining only the most stable arrangements of atoms in a solid. By using a lower-temperature, solution-based cation exchange method, we can transform a performed material template into a material with targeted composition. Interestingly, these transformations can be accomplished with the retention of some qualities of the template material, including features of the original crystal structure, circumventing some of the primary difficulties encountered in traditional solid-state chemistry. Using this approach, we have been able to target and isolate some unusual crystal structures in a predictable fashion, which begins to point towards the ability to generalise these approaches for polymorphic structure targeting in solid-state chemistry.

I think the most exciting thing about chemistry (and science in general) is that the great breakthroughs can be serendipitous and unexpected

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

In different ways, I have found pride in sharing my work with others. Outside of my lab or the community of solid-state chemists, there is something really exciting about communicating the major points of my science to non-technical audiences in a way that appeals to them (without oversimplifying the science behind it), in formal presentations and informal conversations. Additionally, I have found great satisfaction and pride in seeing some of my efforts come to fruition in published form. Getting to a paper is a grind – it represents many hours in lab and many, many failed experiments, significant data analysis and interpretation, as well as the actual time spent writing the manuscript and putting together figures and data in a way that communicates the significance more broadly. It is exhilarating to contribute to the scientific community, even in very small ways.

 

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

I’m a synthetic chemist, so the majority of my work-life time is spent in the hood or nearby in the lab, weighing powders, pipetting solvents, heating/degassing a reaction, injecting precursors or decomposition agents, or cleaning and working up reactions. I spend “down” time reading papers, chatting science with my lab mates or advisor, or getting other work done (at the beginning of my graduate career, this was class assignments or grading for my teaching assignments… lately, it’s writing!). If I’m not in the synthesis lab, you could probably find me in the Penn State Materials Characterization Lab using one of the transmission electron microscopes (TEM) to take a look at the morphology of my nanoparticle samples, to analyse their crystal structures (using selected-area electron diffraction or high-resolution TEM), or to assess their elemental composition using STEM-EDS (energy dispersive spectroscopy) mapping.

 

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

To merge my passion for chemistry and my desire to engage others in STEM, I plan to pursue an academic research career after completing my graduate work. As a young person, I had few female academic role models; as a professional, I anticipate working toward developing mentoring programmes to help foster students’ interest in STEM fields at an early age. I look forward to leveraging my career to help bridge the gap between technical and non-technical audiences and to increase scientific literacy at all levels of academia, politics and normal life. Thus far, I have observed and begun to appreciate the unique set of opportunities available to academic scientists: engagement with top-calibre colleagues, students and mentors, involvement with a built-in community of equally passionate researchers, opportunity to converse and collaborate across disciplines and institutions, and utilisation of cutting-edge instrumentation and laboratories. Leading scientists in top academic institutions enjoy the ideal setting for making discoveries, establishing meaningful collaborations and mentoring future generations of scientists. For an ambitious and creative scientist, academic research positions provide the latitude and flexibility to innovate, the environment to pursue individual research interests (sometimes several different ones), and the opportunity to truly impact the scientific world and the world at large.

 

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

I enjoy traveling to new places (or familiar ones), outdoor activities, reading, board games, and spending time with family and friends. I also make some attempts to cook, though I have found that synthetic skills in chemistry do not directly translate to cooking skills (although it feels like they should).

 

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

Although we live in a world of instant gratification and quick answers, progress in science is often quite slow. It requires a significant investment of time, energy and thought, and even with this discipline, projects stalling or hypotheses failing is inevitable in these disciplines. This can be discouraging to anyone, but particularly to young scientists. Eventually, progress is made: an interesting discovery, fresh eyes to interpret formerly frustrating results, or new ideas and hypotheses that can be tested and proven true, but this takes time. My advice is to keep pushing towards the goal of understanding, and to stay positive — try not to let temporary frustrations get in the way of that. I would encourage young women in particular to not be intimidated by male-dominated academic science. If you want it and are willing to work hard, you are capable of achieving every success in science.

 

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

I think the most exciting thing about chemistry (and science in general) is that the great breakthroughs can be serendipitous and unexpected – although we would like to know exactly where they will come from, we don’t and we shouldn’t expect to. As a materials chemist, however, I think some of the scientific discoveries with the potential for the greatest impact on society will come from the development of new materials. I expect that the next decade and beyond will give us numerous breakthroughs in materials for a wide variety of applications, particularly those important for solar energy harvesting, fuel cells, batteries, other electronics and beyond (perhaps for applications we haven’t even thought of yet).

We should continue to reach out to and encourage aspiring scientists as children and teens, and at the undergraduate level

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

This is a difficult question, and one that I think (rightly) is starting to be addressed at every level of academic training and careers. I think that we, as a community, are taking steps in the right direction towards an academy that looks more representative of broader society (including more women and other under-represented groups). While progress is good, this process will take time! 30, 40 and 50 years ago, the pool of trainees looked much different than it does today, which is still reflected in the way the academy (or even in high levels of scientific industry) looks today. I think it’s important not to do this artificially at the highest levels of science, but to build up to that slowly, over a period of time. We should continue to reach out to and encourage aspiring scientists as children and teens, and at the undergraduate level, and help to change the perception of what a scientist looks like and does. At the graduate level, mentorship is extremely important, as learning from the mistakes and triumphs of others who have gone before you is valuable for making informed decisions about your career (and basically everything else).

#LiNo17 Daily Recap – Wednesday, 28 June

With Wednesday ending, we are striding towards the last two days of the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting – but that does most certainly not mean that the next days are getting less exciting than the previous ones. Talking about exciting days, let’s take a look at the highlights of yesterday.

 

Video of the day:

Yesterday, Nobel Laureates Stefan Hell and Richard R. Schrock discussed “Current and Future Game Changers in Chemistry” with Jörg Huslage from the Corporate Research & Development Department of Volkswagen Group and Siddulu Talapaneni, an Indian Young Scientist from the University of South Australia at the Panel Discussion moderated by Geoffrey Carr, Science Editor from The Economist.

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

 

Picture of the day:

Nobel Laureate Ferid Murad enjoying his coffee break while talking to some of the young scientists.

67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Chemistry, 25.06.2017 - 30.06.2017, Lindau, Germany, Picture/Credit: Christian Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Ferid Murad in talk with young researchers

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

 

Blog of the day:

Focus on Africa: Advancing Science to Advance Humankind – Alaina G. Levine talks with a rising star of Kenyan science, Titus Masese, on the present, presence, and presents of African Science across the globe.

Focus on Africa Slider

Do take a look at more of our inspring 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 three 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.

“It Is Time That We Write Our Own History in Science!” – Eva Maria Wara Alvarez Pari

Interview with #LiNo17 young scientist Eva Maria Wara Alvarez Pari

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 Eva Maria Wara and get inspired.

 

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Eva Maria Alvarez Pari, 23, from Bolivia is an undergraduate chemistry student doing her Master degree at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Eva is in the first stage of her academic career. Nevertheless, she is deeply interested in organic chemistry applied to the medicine.

 

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

Well, I consider that question really anecdotal. During the elementary school I was close to failing one year of my studies because of mathematics. Nevertheless, in high school I have been immersed in science more and more. My first approach to chemistry was in 2007, when I started high school. I have been lucky to have an amazing woman as a chemistry teacher who has supported me in every stage of my academic life. She deeply motivated me. Nevertheless I made my first step, when one day I saw in the newspaper a competition that has been launched for high school students. I had a big desire to participate and I asked my teacher to train me for Chemistry Olympics competitions in my city. Although I have won a third place I didn’t feel any regret or depression. I was completely sure, I did my best. Since then I put my heart and soul into the chemistry. I have participated in some of my teacher’s lectures at her technical institute, where I gained my first experience working at lab under her supervision. Since mathematics at high school caught my attention by creating models to explain some natural phenomena, I decided to do a Bachelor degree in mathematics. Nevertheless, there was something missing in my life. Then I realised that if I couldn’t study chemistry I would probably have regrets later. So, I started my chemistry studies immediately. At the end, I have completed both careers. It was really hard to manage the schedules of my different subjects avoiding overlapping of the courses and arranging the transportation stuff to be on time to every single lecture. But when there is passion, everything is possible. Being motivated made it possible to complete both careers in five years; otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have done it without this driving force.

 

Who are your role models?

Definitely my professors have played a big role in my academic formation. I was fortunate to being surrounded by powerful women in chemistry. My chemistry teacher at school was a devoted person who dedicated her life and time to motivate students to pursue a scientific career. She supported me even outside the classroom. We were not teacher and student anymore, but we started to be two people learning from each other drawn by a shared passion to chemistry. During my undergraduate studies, two dedicated women were a continuous support to my scientific career. I feel admiration of their outstanding research projects and their role as women holding high positions in the university which is not common in my home country. They oriented me personally and academically, keeping my motivation to pursue an academic career. Certainly one of my strongest motivations is attributed to Marie Sklodowska-Curie, who gave the first step and opened to us the opportunities to be as equals to men in science.

I have made the best decision of my life and I don’t regret it at all.

Last but not least, my parents have always been concerned about my education and gave me all the facilities to tackle a scientific career. No expense was too great to give me the best education since I was at elementary school. They gave me freedom to decide what I wanted to become. Actually, they are supporting me in my master studies economically, and they even have plans to do so, too, for my PhD studies because they are concern about my deep love for Chemistry.

 

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

Nothing can be done without motivation and constant work. I realised at high school that to become a scientist involves many years of studies. But that is not everything. You must keep yourself in constant learning because science never sleeps. So, even knowing that, I have made the best decision of my life and I don’t regret it at all. Since high school I have set long and short goals to become a scientist, and it also meant to get a better education outside. I am always daydreaming because it keeps me motivated. Since my first day in Germany on October 1st, I have looked for many opportunities to encourage my scientific aspirations. As an anecdote, one day before the deadlines for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting I have seen a publication on Facebook related to eight women who participated in the preliminary meeting. I didn’t miss the opportunity to apply immediately and because of that I arrived too late to my preliminary Master meeting in Erlangen. Of course, now I am really glad that this happened. The first obstacle I have faced took place, when I decided to apply for a scholarship. Unfortunately, most of the scholarships launched in my home country require one year of work experience, which reduces your aspirations to apply as soon as you have completed your bachelor studies, even considering these studies in Bolivia last five years. This drawback event helped me to understand that if I want to fulfil my dreams there was no other solution than to study abroad by myself and with the economic support of my family. Since I am here in Germany, I had the opportunity to be part of Prof. Heinrich’s group. Their research is focused on Medicinal Chemistry with topics like carbofluorination reactions. Prof. Heinrich has given me a comfortable environment to work, and my colleagues are a scientific family who are always willing to share knowledge and advice. I have been part of seminar discussions of organic total synthesis of some active substances and natural products. There, I found a space to be immersed in a wide spread of acknowledgment so I could start shaping my scientific career. Now, I have many projects in mind and I am also looking forward to getting a PhD position once I finish my Master degree so I can continue building my academic life.

 

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

In my home country during my last year of my Bachelor in Chemistry, I have spent three months working in a scientific institution where I could get knowledge of the use of many of the technical instruments that chemists use to elucidate organic structures. The person in charge, Dr. Marcelo Bascope, is used to giving the interns the opportunity to perform scientific projects during their stay there, which I consider a good opportunity to start with your own scientific project and see your limitations and strengths working in a lab. I decided to carry out the identification of active principles from Nicotiana Glauca, a medicinal plant native from South America, which has as main component the alkaloid anabasine. I spent a month working at this project but the most rewarding experience I had was the freedom to perform every step from sample preparation up to purification and identification using the equipment to elucidate the structure of each component. The satisfaction to complete everything by myself helped me to realise that I was meant to work in a lab. This was the first close experience at the lab doing research. The freedom to work on my own increased my self-confidence, because there was no one telling me what to do or putting pressure on me. It was only me and my research growing day by day like a baby becoming an adult.

Take risks in scientific life.

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

When I was admitted to a Master’s degree programme at Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen I was really proud of all I did so far to get an education abroad. Germany is the country for scientific opportunities. I have been here for only six months and I am part of a research team, a PhD student Anna Pirzer (whom I collaborated with in the lab and who gave me freedom to pursue my own ideas) and I are going to publish a research article. I am proud of myself, of everything I have done to pursue a scientific career, every obstacle I had to overcome to achieve my goals and for all the work that lies ahead.

 

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

After I wake up, I organise everything to go to my master lectures and I prepare my material of studies. Every Thursday of the week I am part of discussion in a seminar session related to total organic synthesis in Prof. Heinrich’s group, so I can polish and hone my organic synthesis skills through wide mechanisms of reactions used to synthesise complex molecules. During the afternoon, if I don’t have any lectures to attend I go to the library to look for some books to study for the upcoming examinations or I just stay the whole afternoon studying in the library with some friends or alone. During the evening, I write some e-mails to my professors and colleagues from my home university keeping in contact with them and sharing science in some way while I enjoy hearing instrumental music. My favourites are movie soundtracks. I am fond into Hans Zimmer compositions.

 

What are you seeking to accomplish in your career?

My scientific aspirations in science are not related to immortalising my name, not even to economic ambitions. I have a big desire to follow an academic career. Nothing is more rewarding than to share and receive knowledge. I have a deep desire to become a Professor and to have my own research group, with active students performing activities regarding science and discussing breakthroughs in chemistry. I have always been interested in discussing and sharing ideas, even during my bachelor studies I used to organise out-of-the-classroom lectures prepared by myself and my colleagues to encourage our understanding of chemistry. At that time, we were aware that our bachelor program and lab courses didn’t provide the same knowledge in some areas of chemistry compared to cutting-edge universities in science.

 

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

My daily activities are not limited to study. I devote my free day doing out-door activities like hiking or taking a walk in the city, it keeps me motivated and I find equilibrium between my scientific life and my personal life. I love writing poems and thoughts as well. During the weekend, me and my master partners go to some events in Germany, go to shopping or run cultural meetings by sharing our typical food. Most of the time, I am with my “German family”. Since my childhood, I had the opportunity to grow up under a constant influence of German culture. I maintain relationship with people who belong to Missionskreis Ayopaya, an institution that is directly connected to Bolivia through German volunteering.

I am pretty sure, the understanding of origin of life through chemistry laws would be the next breakthrough in science.

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

Take risks in scientific life. Don’t be shy or afraid to express your own ideas even if you are mistaken. Try your best in everything you perform and overcome fear of complexities, of academic inferiority, of the unknown and of failure. Trust yourself and keep on moving even when it means that you only advance little by little. Scientific research has obstacles and the time one invests may extend too many years but the results are a lifetime achievement, a satisfaction that your ideas could encourage the welfare of humanity and the development of one’s country. This fills you with happiness. We are not Marie Curies – of course not. It is time that we write our own history in science!

 

Eva_4

 

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

Regarding my particular interests in organic synthesis, we always have to deal with chiral molecules which are present in nature as single enantiomers. I have completed my bachelor thesis in mathematics related to group and graph theories in order to simplify our understanding of symmetry in organic molecules through mathematics. Unfortunately, it is not simple to reach a general explanation. Most of the complex molecules of life are chiral so there is no way to apply these mathematical models to them. I am pretty sure, the understanding of origin of life through chemistry laws would be the next breakthrough in science.

 the number of women who don’t show interest in academic careers has increased

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

Since I have been in Germany for six months, I have realised that there is no big gap between women and men pursuing a scientific career. Both have the same opportunities and support in the first stage of their scientific careers. The numbers of women are even bigger in PhD research groups compared to men, according to my experience working in the lab. Over the last few years, the gap has been narrowed considerably in developed countries. Nevertheless, the number of women who don’t show interest in academic careers has increased. I think that there are still some prejudices related to the balance between family and academia in women’s lives – that is another reason why some women speed up their graduate studies in order to get a stable position at the university before deciding to have a family. There must be some guarantee that a woman who decides to have children could continue in the same charge after taking a semester off, but, unfortunately, women cannot recover the same opportunities they had before they decided to start a family. Universities or academic institutions must adopt special programmes or work-family policies to support women who decide to start a family before getting tenure and not put their later chances at risk.