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January 13, 2021

Virtual Biozentrum Symposium 2021

The Biozentrum Symposium has been a permanent fixture in the Institute’s event calendar for many years. In order to provide the researchers with a platform for scientific exchange, despite the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Symposium took place as a virtual event supported by new formats.

Collection of images submitted for the "Art & Science" online exhibition at this year's Biozentrum Symposium.

The restrictions resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic impact each of us in our daily work. But the crisis also sparks resourcefulness. The Biozentrum Symposium, for example, was completely re-designed and moved to the virtual event platform “Airmeet” and featured novel interactive online formats this year.

With creativity, the organization team led by Prof. Mihaela Zavolan and Prof. Flavio Donato put together an appealing online program. Along with the classical lecture format and poster presentations, there was also an “Art & Science” online exhibition and, for the first time, the “Science Games @BiozentrumBasel”, organized by the PhD Students and Postdoc Societies. A total of more than 300 scientists participated in this year’s symposium.

The symposium was kicked-off by the newest professors at the Biozentrum, Maria Hondele und Knut Drescher. Hondele, who was awarded an “ERC Starting Grant” last year, introduced her research on RNA-containing membraneless organelles. The biophysicist Drescher, presented his work on the formation and function of bacterial communities, the so-called biofilms. Two panel discussions looked at current and socially relevant topics. The experts discussed ways to build a bridge to medical applications from molecular discoveries and how to close the loop between natural and artificial intelligence.

One advantage of online formats is that there are no space limitations. And so, instead of the previous 60, more than 120 researchers could present their work as a poster. One of the highlights of the symposium was the “Art & Science” exhibition with 22 contributions. They ranged from microscopy images and videos, animated simulations to computational models. Prizes were awarded to the images of Louise Larsson und Julia Stevens and the team artwork of Florian Delbart, Raffaella Capozzoli, Maxim Kolesnikow, Elian Kuhn and Miro Plum.

At the Biozentrum Symposium also the winners of the Gottfried Schatz PhD Student Prize and the J. C. W. Shepherd PhD Student Prize were announced. This year’s awardees are Jérémie Breda from Erik van Nimwegen’s group and Bing Zhang, PhD student in the team led by Camilo Perez. The Postdoc Paper Prize awarded by the Biozentrum Postdoc Society went to Ahilya Sawh from the Mango lab.

With an inspiring and motivating “State-of-the-Union” talk about creating a union of many different people at the Biozentrum, the director, Prof. Alex Schier, closed the Biozentrum Symposium, which despite but also due to the extraordinary circumstances provided all participants with a new, interesting and diverse symposium to remember.

Images: "The beautiful brain" Alexia Ferrand (IMCF); "Fish Bang" Joaquin Navajas Acedo (group Schier); "Posterior Scream" Sheida Hadji Rasouliha (group Affolter); "Dirt Bird" Julia Stevens (group Spang); "OMX Blaze V4 - mind the edges" Oliver Biehlmaier (IMCF); "Mind wonder" Corina Segalada (group Doetsch). (from top left to bottom right)

Contact: Communications