The 11th Horizons in Molecular Biology Symposium, organized by students of the IMPRS for Molecular Biology, took place from September 15-18 2014. We were glad to be able to welcome a diverse selection of excellent speakers and an audience of more than 250 participants from 42 countries – setting a new record in international diversity!
The Horizons symposiums are renowned for their diversity of topics, giving participants the opportunity to interact with scientists from a broad range of fields, and this year was no different: From our section “Journey through Life” over “Circles of Life” and “Small Wonders of Life” to “Messages in Life”, virtually all areas of Molecular Biology were covered.
Among this year's 19 speakers were the two Nobel Laureates Ada Yonath, with a riveting talk about “the amazing ribsome”, and Sir John Walker, who shared his insights on the mechanism of ATP-synthesis. Further topics included the construction of connectomial maps of the brain (Jeff Lichtman), the resolution of structures of membrane proteins by solid-state NMR (Mei Hong), the connection between DNA methylation and Rett syndrome (Sir Adrian Bird), using proteomics to elucidate angiogenesis processes in cancer-associated cells (Sara Zanivan), and the translation from bench to bedside through the examples of DNA vaccines (Margaret Liu) and the use of KATP channel blockers in neonatal diabetes (Frances Ashcroft).
But we also looked beyond pure research: In his keynote lecture Ingo Potrykus shared with us his journey of developing Golden Rice and trying to deliver it to the farmers in countries in need of it, reminding the audience of the social and political implications of research. And during the opening talk of the Career Fair, Uri Alon elaborated in his amazing guitar talk on “Love and Fear in the Lab”, and the importance of emotions in scientific work.
Finally, Horizons has always been and always will be a place for students to interact with each other and established scientists, to forge contacts, and most important of all have fun! The relaxed atmosphere during the “Wine & Cheese” poster session, the conference dinner and party, the speed dating event at the Career Fair, and last but not least the coffee breaks, fuelled by hundreds of litres of coffee and a sizeable amount of cookies, promoted close proximity between speakers and participants.
The 12th Horizons in Molecular Biology symposium will take place from September 14 – 17 2015 and we are happy to already be able to announce that Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie, best known for his work on GFP, has agreed to join us as a guest speaker. So save the date, and see you in 2015!