Fighting Melanoma – Quantum Leap Ahead

“We can begin to dare dreaming about curing melanoma”, a sentence I’ve heard said out loud on the podium during last year’s Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) conference in Boston, the largest and most important conference for all those involved in the fight against malignant melanoma. This sentence would not have been thinkable only a few years ago. Back then, classical chemotherapy using the DNA … Continue reading Fighting Melanoma – Quantum Leap Ahead »

Pride and Prejudice – or: How to deal with the employment office

“Studying biology should be considered a hobby”, that is what a speaker humorously mentioned at a job talk hosted by the Bonner Forum Biomedicine last year. The speaker, who had a PhD in biology and successfully worked in industry for two decades, did not intend to say that studying biology is easy, but she pointed out that there are simply too many students for too … Continue reading Pride and Prejudice – or: How to deal with the employment office »

Fantastic Sortases and where to find them

Since my bachelor thesis I use cloning on a regular basis. Back then to transform yeast, later I needed to clone in order to perform a yeast-two-hybrid screen while now everything has shifted to the expression and modification of proteins. Cloning of plasmids is easy due to the long known and appreciated restriction enzymes. You flank your coding sequence with unique restriction sites and ligate … Continue reading Fantastic Sortases and where to find them »

Are you a typical PhD student?

Have you ever doubted your decision to pursue a PhD? We’ve found that most PhD students we’ve talked to, at one point or another, experience uncertainty of some kind. Have you ever doubted whether you correspond to what a “typical PhD student” is supposed be? Because we know that life as a graduate student can at times be chaotic and taxing, we’ve set out to … Continue reading Are you a typical PhD student? »

How afraid are you of your supervisor?

A dry mouth, excessive sweating, aphasia – hopefully that is not what you experience when you need to talk to your PI. For some, however, the benign stress response ahead of meetings that you may be familiar with turns into an unbearable condition. Recently, Dr. Diamandis, professor at the University of Toronto, addressed what he recognized as a “growing phobia” in a Nature article sparking … Continue reading How afraid are you of your supervisor? »

Time to become a PhD – Time to fasten up becoming a PhD

In our last article I wondered how long it takes for students at our faculty to finally get their PhD after having submitted their thesis. Surveys among alumni (n=32) showed that this final step takes about five months. 70% of the former PhD students were not satisfied with how long it took from handing in their thesis until their defense could take place. This time … Continue reading Time to become a PhD – Time to fasten up becoming a PhD »

Time to become a PhD – The dream of graduating soon

Imagine, years have passed and you reach the far away goal of your dreams: You have written up your PhD thesis and are ready to hand in! And, almost equally satisfying, you are ready to smile back at those people’s faces who have been driving you crazy the years by asking “When will you be finished?“. After such a long time you can finally answer … Continue reading Time to become a PhD – The dream of graduating soon »

The good, the bad, and the ugly – Cell culture as substitute for animal-based research

The “Three R principles” are quite old but represent a “must-have” (or rather a “must-be”) in our daily lab routine. In 1954, the Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW) approached two scientists who were instructed to inaugurate a systematic study of laboratory techniques in their ethical aspects. Based on their reports, a book named “The 3Rs” was published in 1959, which describes guidelines for a … Continue reading The good, the bad, and the ugly – Cell culture as substitute for animal-based research »

What are iMATEs?

Have you ever wondered what the term iMATEs stands for? In this cool little presentation here Ru-Lin Cheng from the group of Percy Knolle explains the role of iMATEs in the liver and how they can be used to influence immune reactions in the liver. Check it out!