"Without hierarchies, open, transparent"


PD Dr. Andrea Kliewer has fond memories of her participation in the EMBO Lecture Course in Spetses, Greece. The format of the scientific lecture series with lectures, tutorials, discussions, poster presentations and joint dinners creates a unique atmosphere and promotes interaction between all participants.

Jena. It has been 11 years since Dr. Andrea Kliewer took part in the EMBO-FEBS lecture course on the Greek island of Spetses. With her clinical background, she may have been somewhat unfamiliar with the subject, but that didn't matter. "I still think back to it often. The days in Spetses have left a lasting impression on me," says the neuropharmacologist from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Jena University Hospital.

The lecture course, organized by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) - a European scientific organization in the field of molecular biology - and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) - a European umbrella organization of specialist societies in the field of biochemistry - serves to facilitate scientific exchange between leading and young scientists. Prof. Christoph Englert, research group leader at the Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) Jena, co-organizes this lecture series. Dr. Andrea Kliewer has been associated with the FLI since her diploma thesis, which she wrote under the guidance of research group leader Prof. Jan Tuckermann.

The neurobiologist explains that she attended the course in Spetses immediately after completing her doctoral thesis in pharmacology. "The atmosphere was very special," she enthuses: "It was very informal, without hierarchies, open, transparent, and the lecturers were incredibly good." The 40-year-old says that it almost felt like 1:1 support from the lecturers for both doctoral and postdoctoral students. This unique community not only allowed participants to broaden their horizons and explore new avenues of thought as part of the scientific program but also during shared meals and excursions. "You can't express the benefits in publications or measured values," Kliewer is convinced.

The intensive exchange offers young scientists the space and opportunity to develop new questions, gain insights into potential career paths and make valuable contacts for job opportunities and new research projects. Postdocs and PhD students have the chance to present posters and discuss them with speakers.

"I can only recommend everyone to take part," summarizes Dr. Andrea Kliewer. Her very personal conclusion from 2013: back from the island, Kliewer decided to stay in research. "I was highly motivated, had new ideas, and a good network."

This year's EMBO-FEBS lecture course runs from September 5-12, 2024 under the title "Molecular mechanisms of ageing and regeneration: From hydra to humans". Registration is still possible until June 15. Further information can be found at https://meetings.embo.org/event/24-ageing-regeneration.