This year, we were very happy to be able to host a one-day retreat in Erlangen on the 14th of October 2021. Since our last retreat in 2019, ten PhD students and four MD students started their time in the GRK. Additionally, we were happy to welcome five new PIs with the prolongation of the GRK in the end of 2020. As the retreat in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personal interactions between GRK members was very limited. Therefore, the retreat was a great chance to meet in person for the first time, to interact and to network.
For our scientific program in the morning, we were glad to welcome Dr. Mareike Albert (TU Dresden) and Dr. Mina Gouti (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin). Dr. Mareike Albert gave a very intriguing talk about “Gene regulatory mechanisms of neocortex development and evolution”. Afterwards, Dr. Mina Gouti fascinated us with her talk about “Building advanced human neuromuscular organoids to study development and disease”. Between and after the talks, the students presented their work in two poster sessions and got valuable feedback and ideas on their projects. Kristina Battis (AG Winkler) won the poster price – congratulations!
Chris Gulley, founder of the Hand Project, accompanied our afternoon and showed us how to assemble functional prosthetic hands for people in developing countries. We separated into groups of three and were able to assemble 15 prosthetic hands. During the assembly, the strong hand of the participants was covered with a glove and was not allowed to be used. This raised awareness of what it is like to live with a disability. The hands will now be delivered to people in developing countries completely free of charge. With it, the recipient can write, eat, ride a motorbike, and many many things that we take for granted. It makes the quality of their lives much better.
The day was completed with a nice get-together with food, drinks and a lot of networking.