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9th Gӧttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society, March 2011: A Big Success

By Aileen Rose Lo

Students in GoettingenIt was on a beautiful Wednesday morning, sometime during our first project practicum period.  We all rushed to the train station, very excited to go to Gӧttingen for the 9th Gӧttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society.   Alas!  We had some days off from lab work, precious time to get together again, new topics to learn and explore, ideas for future research projects, and opportunity to network with fellow neuroscientists. And we were not disappointed.

It was in total a 5-hour journey.  On our way, we bonded, relaxed, and just enjoyed the scenery. When we finally arrived at the venue, we quickly browsed over the program booklet and tried to fix our schedule for each day as everyone began to choose which symposium to attend.  In the end, we came up with different choices except for one:  All of us could not afford to miss Dr. Neumann’s presentation. 

Frankly, all topics were interesting in their own right, though they were highly specialized, very varied, and broad in coverage.  Having a background in the medical field, I attended mainly those which were clinical in nature. By that I mean I particularly loved the lectures dealing with translational research – recent studies on the molecular mechanisms involved in various neurodegenerative diseases including their treatment approaches, and the many ways to study neurodegenerative and demyelinating diseases.  Another noteworthy and equally interesting lecture was that on the memory function of sleep, which I found not only very informative but also very encouraging.
The presenters, on the other hand, were effective communicators.  They did a great job in reaching out to a wide variety of audiences, making the presentation a little less complicated and less overwhelming, at least to my own understanding.  Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I withstood, enjoyed, and gained so much knowledge even from lectures which were a bit alien to me such as the one on insect acoustic communication!

During breaks, I and the rest of the group had the opportunity to meet and discuss with fellow students and neuroscientists as we flocked by their posters or just met them at the halls.  As I had observed, only a handful of the attendees were master students like us, as the majority were post-docs and senior scientists.  Surprisingly, being one among the youngest groups of participants did not become an obstacle at all because the senior scientists were very approachable, professional, and very accommodating.

Last but certainly not least, I cannot forget the little talk that we had with Dr. Inga Neumann.   I appreciated the fact that she spent some time with us despite her very hectic schedule to discuss our career goals and aspirations.  Sincerely, I was glad to hear her honest opinions and wise advices.   Also, our group’s bonding time each day and night as we roam around the city was equally precious and unforgettable.

In sum, I believe that the 9th Gottingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society was a huge success.  Personally, it further opened my mind and heart into the various aspects of neuroscience, as it motivated me to study further, and reach for my goals.  Aside from that, not only had it served as a niche for scientists to advance their careers through networking, collaborating, and learning from each other, but also gave one the opportunity to build relationships and boost personal growth.  That is why I feel so grateful and fortunate to have attended this conference, and I believe that everyone also felt the same way.

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