URO get together in Heidelberg

Our this year’s MtL-URO students came together in Heidelberg to have some fun and talk science. We were happy to finally hear about the research projects they worked on during their 10-week internships in the MtL faculty labs.

In June and October, we welcomed our this year’s MtL-URO students at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. This unique occasion provided the students Marta Conti, Kueyoung Kim, Jasper Krähe, Bahar Shakerifakher, Lasya Damaraju, Eva Reyblat, and Laura Scarpelli, with a platform to connect, tour the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, and immerse themselves in the charm of Heidelberg.

Insightful presentations by the URO participants were a highlight of these events. Lasya shared her research with the NIPAM-NEAM microgel system, specifically optimized for stem-cell adhesion. Eva delved the application of Atomic Force Microscopy to study bacteria adhesion, and Laura discussed her project on the differentiation and analysis of cardiomyocytes from Noonan Syndrome (NS) and corrected NS stem cell lines to create EHMs. Marta delved into Mitochondrial localization and morphology in Physarum polycephalum, exploring the mechanisms of trapping and escape. Kueyoung presented his thermodynamically consistent model of polarization for membrane-bound phase separation, while Jasper focused on molecular dynamic simulations deciphering amino acid roles in cellobiose dehydrogenase. Bahar explored the response of chemically interactive particles in a Cahn-Hilliard field.

These engaging presentations spurred dynamic discussions and idea exchanges among the students. MtL Chair Joachim Spatz joined us virtually to greet the students personally. Moreover, he provided an overview of the school and application process, and shared recent highlights from his research lab.

A guided tour of Heidelberg's historical old town unfolded, featuring landmarks like Heiliggeistkirche, the Jewish Quarter, Germany’s oldest university with the Studentenkarzer, and the extensive pedestrian zone. The tour concluded with a delightful traditional German meal.

Matter to Life URO student Kueyoung Kim giving a scientific presentation and pointing at his presentation with a laser pointer

Special thanks go to MtL PhD students Lena, Anastassiya, Florian, and Meline, who presented their research results at both URO get-togethers. The interns also took the chance to explore the labs of Ada Cavalcanti-Adam and Joachim Spatz, gaining insights into the facilities and scientific equipment. Discussions with group members offered a deeper understanding of the research conducted within the Matter to Life scope.We trust that the students found inspiration in the science underpinning Matter to Life and the vibrant community of students and faculty. Wishing them success in their internships, we hope this marks the beginning of an illustrious scientific journey for each participant.

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