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News Archive 2023

28. Juni 2023

Great community events: Biozentrum Symposium and first World Alumni Day

The last week was intense: one great event followed the next. The Biozentrum Symposium and the first World Alumni Day brought together generations of current and former Biozentrum scientists and staff, forging connections and fostering community.

Impression of Biozentrum events with crowd of people

Biozentrum Symposium 2023

On Thursday, June 22, the Biozentrum Symposium took place, this time in the beautiful Kunstmuseum Basel - bringing together art and science. This symposium was a great opportunity for our researchers to gain a brief overview of the projects carried out at our institution as well as to share and discuss the latest results and methods. This year’s symposium was opened by Prof. Sonja Kleinlogel, Research Development Section Head at Roche, with an exciting keynote lecture on designer optogenetic gene therapies for restoring vision, followed by a lively discussion on the potential, challenges and risks of this therapeutic approach. 

With the poster sessions and one-minute flash talks, young scientists were offered a platform to present and discuss their own work. The more than 90 contributions were actively rated by the other participants throughout the meeting. At the end of the day, the excitement culminated in the Poster Award Ceremony. This year, six young researchers from diverse research fields were awarded a best poster prize: Anna Leder (group Sebastian Hiller), Miro Plum (group Marek Basler), Fabienne Estermann (group Dirk Bumann), Hannah Jeckel (group Knut Drescher), Simon Zufferey (group Ben Engel), Julia Schedel (group Markus Rüegg). 

In his traditional “State-of-the-Union” address, the Director Prof. Alex Schier embarked on a journey from the past to the future of the Biozentrum, highlighting the importance of a vibrant Biozentrum community. In a panel discussion, Anne Spang and Marek Basler discussed the trending topic of ChatGPT’s role in research and teaching with the interested audience. This day filled with scientific discoveries and fresh insights came to a close with a convivial get-together.


Biozentrum Highlight: First World Alumni Day 

One day later, on Friday, 23 June 2023, the doors of the Biozentrum swung open for our very first World Alumni Day – a unique event that bridged the past, present and future. The air was filled with excitement and nostalgia as the alumni gathered for their reunion. The Alumni Day was kicked off with a welcome speech by the Director, Prof. Alex Schier, followed by heartfelt talks by some of our renowned alumni: Nobel laureate Prof. Eric Wieschaus, Prof. Susan Gasser, Prof. Amy Gladfelter, and Prof. Iain Mattaj. The four distinguished alumni speakers were touched when presented with a special personal gift: a stone from the staircase – the last remains of the old Biozentrum building.

More than 400 alumni from all over the world, who walked the halls of the Biozentrum during the past five decades, didn't miss the opportunity to visit the new building, meet old friends and lab mates, reconnect with former colleagues, share anecdotes from their time at the Biozentrum as well as reminisce about experiences and memories which shaped their lives and careers. The program featured a diverse range of activities, from scientific lectures, guided Biozentrum tours to trips and individual programs organized by the research groups. In the evening the crowd of alumni got together again for dinner, continued their conversations and visibly had a blast, many of them partying until late at night. 

Alexander Harms, who just recently moved his lab to ETH Zurich, commented on twitter: “Great to be back at my academic cradle, the Biozentrum, for the Alumni Day! Feels weird to be back as a mere guest after spending so much good time here, from BSc to habilitation, but it’s wonderful to meet so many old and new friends!” This first Biozentrum Alumni Day fostered and renewed connections and left a lasting impression on all attendees.