On 20th of July 2016, local supporters and Friends of EMBL were invited by Nadezhda Abazova, Henning Falk and Mariana Ruiz Velasco Leyva, EMBL PhD students, to the Heidelberg Campus of the Laboratory. In an informal atmosphere of a week-day lunch, guests had an opportunity to find out from the young researchers about their current projects and plans for the future.

Guests were impressed by the rich activity portfolio that the students are engaged in. EMBL international PhD Programme provides students not only with excellent conditions for conducting their research, but also gives them vast opportunities to innovatively solve research questions through international and interdisciplinary collaborations or by development of new technology.

“For my research, I require a special microscope that needs to be customized to my application. At EMBL I found the perfect working environment to realize such a project. With the help of the Laboratory’s specialised Core Facilities and Workshops, I was able to plan a new microscope tailored to my specific needs. Thanks to EMBL’s support infrastructure and interdisciplinary expertise, my colleagues and I can push technical limitations to find answers to new, never explored research problems”. Henning Falk, PhD Student in Alexander Aulehla’s Research Group.

EMBL PhD Lunch 2016 Speakers

EMBL PhD Students (from left): Nade Abazova, Mariana Ruiz Velasco and Henning Falk

Mariana Ruiz Velasco Leyva, PhD Student in the Zaugg group, studying human genetic variation, mentioned one aspect of her EMBL course that she finds particularly valuable for her development as a researcher. EMBL strives to build an international network of scientists to interact and exchange ideas during their stay at EMBL and throughout their entire career. Many scientific brainstorming activities, joint courses, teaching experiences, opportunities to organise and attend conferences and workshops as well as interaction with industry and general public; this all makes her positive - said Mariana - to enter a career in academia or industry and to apply her knowledge and skills developed at EMBL.

In this spirit, when asked what her plans for the future were, Nade Abazova, from the Krijgsveld Team, who works on development of artificial stem cells, said: “I am considering to work as a political scientific advisor to support informed decision-making among the world leaders and to help move life sciences further and closer to finding responses to global challenges.”.

“It was very enriching to see excitement and interest on our guests’ faces when they listened to EMBL’s young researchers. Through the Friends of EMBL and our public programme we strive to pass on our enthusiasm for life sciences to people outside the academia. We are looking forward to our future events and the third PhD Lunch next year!”- said Barbara Solich, responsible for Friends of EMBL Programme.