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This year´s COS-Symposium “Genetics 2019: Old Questions and New Frontiers” was held on June 6-7. The line-up of the speaker was fantastic and so was the COS-Summer Party on Friday evening to conclude this exciting event. And on top of that: plenty of the Argentinian BBQ delights! What could be better?
The was the second joint Birzeit-EMBO YIP workshop, following a first molecular biology workshop held in 2010. The meeting was co-sponsored by Birzeit University and UCL’s Global Engagement fund. It was aimed to bring together a diverse group of international scientists with undergraduate students from Birzeit University and other Universities in Palestine to engage in scientific discussions and exchange. The scientific program was divided into four sessions, with talks by international speakers and local faculty, and a poster session where students presented their work. The opportunities for experimental research are rather limited in Palestine due to the lack of funding and infrastructure and many local projects rely on theoretical work. Thus, the idea was to focus on the physics of living systems, which involves both theory and experiment. The ultimate goal was to inspire participating undergraduate students to extend their scientific education bridging theory and experiments in Palestine and abroad.
EMBO sponsors two summer fellowships for Palestinian students who wish to carry out a project in an EMBO YIP lab in 2019 or 2020.
Aiptasia made an educational appearance at this year’s Deutsche SchülerAkademie, an academic summer camp for highly motivated and talented 15-19 year olds. Held in Urspring for two and a half weeks at the beginning of August, the aim of our course on “testing cooperation” was to give the young participants a chance to get some hands-on experience with the scientific method. We wanted them to come up with their own hypotheses and then proceed to test them experimentally. For this purpose, Aiptasia proved an excellent model system. Using colour as a proxy for symbiosis status, the students were able to investigate the benefits both partners draw from the symbiosis, the role of hydrogen peroxide in bleaching, and the reaction to stress more generally. A further group got interested in the movement of symbiotic Aiptasia towards light, looking into the effects of different colours. With very minimal lab equipment, the students were thus able to experience first hand the pains and pleasures of doing science, and they managed to collect some very nice data indeed. We thank Annika and Diana for making all this possible by providing us with Aiptasia and plenty of advice on how to handle them, Oliver Caspari and Agnes Köhler
Earlier this month, a group of children from the Marie Curie German/French pre-school visited COS. The visit was organised by Alexis Maizel and in total 5 labs from COS including us participated. Every lab gave a short general presentation, and then groups of 6-7 childrens rotated through 5 different stations to learn about DNA extraction, chromatography, plants and flies and anemones. Thanks to the help from Marie, Diana, Gideon and Victor the children had a fun time (at least that´s what it looked liked when I had a peek). Thanks so much for investing your time into educating the next generation.
How did it go? Super well!
Today is World Oceans Day with the 2016 theme being “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”. As part of a the effort by Nature Microbiology to highlight some recent research in marine science, we got the chance to participate with a Q & A section about Aiptasia. Check it out!