CeNS Center for NanoScience LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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IDK Summer School 2011

On August 2nd 2011 19 members of the International Doctorate Program NanoBioTechnology (IDK-NBT) gathered at Aiterbach at Chiemsee to hold the annual IDK-NBT summer school. The International Doctorate Program NanoBioTechnology (IDK-NBT) is an international doctoral excellence program in NanoBioTechnology. It  offers outstanding graduate students the opportunity to earn their doctoral degree in a stimulating scientific and academic environment providing interdisciplinary research conditions and excellent education.

All of the participants left Munich early in the morning and were rewarded with a delicious breakfast buffet on a sunny terrace right in front of the Chiemsee. The PhD students mixed and mingled easily and they talked excitedly about what to expect the next days.

Guest lecturer Prof. Seelig
The scientific part of the summer school started with Prof. Georg Seelig’s talk about his research. He is an Assistant Professor for Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington.  He works on understanding how biological organisms process information using complex biochemical networks and how such networks can be engineered to program cellular behaviour. The focus of his group’s research is the identification of systematic design rules for the de novo construction of biological control circuits with DNA and RNA components. Prof. Seelig gave a captivating and stimulating talk, designed for the interdisciplinary audience. As a “treat” he gave the students a DNA game to play he and his group worked out called DNA game: Alpha build.



Prof. Georg Seelig


Student Sessions
After that it was time for the afternoon sessions where IDK students presented their research and discussed it with the fellow IDK members. During the next days every student got a chance to give a presentation on his/her dissertation. These presentations showed the diverse nature of the IDK-NBT. The topics ranged from "How life could evolve - dissipative systems in the molecular evolution" to "Tunable optical properties of copper chalcogenide nanocrystals (NCs)".

A specialty of this year’s summer school was the idea to fill out anonymous feedback forms during the talks. With this every participant got feedback on his style of presentation, on his slides and e. g. on his way of opening the talk from about 20 different people. This offers the presenter a chance to see what he is good in and which things could be improved.





Career Talk
A highlight took place on Wednesday night, when everyone gathered to listen to the career talks of Prof. Georg Seelig, Prof. Philip Tinnefeld (Universität Braunschweig) and IKD-NBT-spokesman Prof. Joachim Rädler (LMU).

Georg Seelig, originally from Basel, did his PhD in physics at the University of Geneva. After that he found his way to a postdoc position at the California Institute of Technology. He emphasized that he spent some time to find out what was exciting for him after his PhD and that that was crucial for his career: “If you want to stay in science you need to be excited about your research”.

Philip Tinnefeld started his talk by saying that when he started choosing a subject for his studies he decided against meteorology because it contains too much physics. Laughter arose as he was a professor for physics at the LMU until 2010.
He studied chemistry in Heidelberg. Like Georg Seelig who also toyed with the idea of leaving academia and going into consulting after his studies, Philip Tinnefeld thought about going into industry. But he decided to follow his heart and he stayed on in Heidelberg to do his PhD. Afer his PostDoc time he went to Bielefeld to do his habilitation. In 2007 he became an Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at the LMU and since last year he holds the chair for biophysical chemistry at the Technische Universität Braunschweig.

Joachim Rädler went from his studies in physics in Bonn to Munich to do his diploma thesis. 2 semesters of these studies he spent in Cambridge and warmly recommended to go abroad as a student. He always knew that he wanted to be professor so he didn’t think twice when he was offered a PhD in the renowned group of Prof. Sackmann at the LMU. After that he did a postdoc in St. Barbara and returned as an Assistant Professor to the LMU. From there he went to Mainz to work at the Max-Planck-Institut until the LMU offered him a professorship. He made the decision for the dynamic environment of a university and for being a scientist and a teacher.

Thanks to the openness of these 3 professors the students could ask all sorts of questions and the lively discussion went on forever.



Prof. Seelig, Prof. Tinnefeld, Prof. Rädler


Final words
The IDK-NBT summer school ended successfully after 3 days of intense work and a big thank you goes out not only to Prof. Georg Seelig for being a big part of the success and to Prof. Philip Tinnefeld and Prof. Joachim Rädler for a night to remember, but also to all the participants who never tired off asking questions, discussing and giving feedback and with that kept the spirit of the Summer School alive. Last but not least the Summer School would not have been possible without the effort and dedication of the IDK Student Representatives Christof Mast, Ilka Kriegel and Ingo Stein.