Looking back at the 5th Advanced Lecture Course on Systems Biology 2014

March 2-8, 2014 in Innsbruck, Austria

Only a little snow, but nevertheless an inspiring course awaited the participants of the Advanced Lecture Course on Systems Biology, which was supported by ERASySAPP, SystemsX.ch and BMBF. During this intense week of training, 120 students delved into a range of current topics in systems biology including cellular decision making and medical systems biology. 

Lectures and interaction with internationally renowned experts

After the pre-courses on Sunday, Nadia Rosenthal from Monash University in Australia opened the course with an exciting keynote lecture on systems approaches to regenerative medicine. Over the following days, the morning’s program was filled with lectures and tutorials from leading international experts such as Markus Covert from Stanford University, USA and Andrew Millar from the University of Edinburgh, UK. No sooner had the morning lectures finished than the ski bus was ready and waiting to head for the mountains. With their lunch bags in one hand and their skiing gear in the other, students and lecturers alike swapped the lecture halls for the slopes and enjoyed two hours of skiing, before returning for computer practicals and blackboard teaching. During the evening poster sessions, students could be seen discussing intensely with lecturers. A special highlight for fun and networking was the social event on Wednesday afternoon, the “Gaudi Olympics”. Diverse activities in the snow were to be mastered in small groups, which provided laughter and team spirit. On the final day, speakers from industry set the focus on systems biology in practice. In the evening, five students were awarded with the Young Investigators Award in recognition of their excellent poster presentations.

Inspiring experience for students and speakers

‘Great science, great people, fun in the mountains. An excellent combination!’ This statement of a pleased student summarizes the training experience in Innsbruck very well. And not only students, but also invited speakers have stated that this training event helps to broaden the mind in a systems biology context. Uwe Sauer from ETH Zurich, head of the organizing committee, was more than pleased with the event. He stated, ‘In particular, speakers that have never before participated in this course were deeply impressed by the interaction. You could feel the energy between the bright young scientists and top researchers in systems biology.‘