The 15th Horizons in Molecular Biology PhD Student Symposium

10th - 13th September 2018

Organizers and participants of Horizons in Molecular Biology 2018
Organizers and participants of Horizons in Molecular Biology 2018

For the 15th time students of the IMPRS for Molecular Biology program had brought together hundreds of young scientists for an exciting week of science at the Horizons in Molecular Biology student symposium. This year more than 250 participants from 21 countries came to Goettingen during 10-13 September to attend the anniversary edition of the meeting. Consistent with previous Horizons, it was a fruitful meeting full of scientific discussions, networking opportunities, and social events.


The symposium started with the 11th Career Fair. Career Fair is an integral part of Horizons, which aims to provide a more personalized insight into career options for PhD students in natural sciences. It also provides an opportunity for participants to learn more about what it takes to build a successful career, and what kind of a skill set is likely to be helpful. On that note, this year we organized workshops that provide advice on scientific communication, as well as on how to transition from an academic environment to industry. Additionally, we hosted several talks by PhD graduates who have successfully transitioned into a corporate world, and were kind enough to present their personal career paths.


After the Career Fair, we commenced with our scientific program. Throughout the three and a half days of scientific lectures we had a pleasure to host some of the most distinguished scientists from around the globe who have significantly advanced their field of research, such as Ulrike Kutay, Polly Matzinger, and Roeland Nusse. Moreover, we are proud to say that this year we had put a special emphasis on bringing many young investigators whose revolutionary ideas have already set them apart and made them prominent figures in the scientific community. To mention a few, Daniel Gerlich, Florian Jug, Yamuna Krishnan, and Elizabeth Villa.


Apart from the scientific talks, it is our tradition to give PhD students a chance to present their work in front of the international audience of the Horizons. We provided an opportunity for three students to give a talk in a segment called Awarded Student Talk. In addition, numerous students got a chance to present a poster during our two poster sessions. This year we received more than 70 applications for the Awarded Student Talk and 120 abstracts for poster presentations. With this we are delighted to say that this was one of the most successful years in terms of student contributions to the Horizons scientific program. We would like to congratulate our Awarded Student Talk winners Mireia Sola, Ivan Sorokin, and Harvijay Singh, as well as the poster prize winners Salma Sohrabi-Jahromi, Claudia Schmidt, and Joshua Philippe Olorocisimo who received valuable prizes kindly provided by our sponsors. 


During the final day, we organized a panel discussion. Here participants had a chance to receive some valuable advice on how to shape their ideas into insightful research questions that are likely to be fruitful. Although we did not receive a definite recipe on how to achieve this, the overarching message was that discussing and sharing seem to be powerful tools that make your ideas better. Reading, says Polly Matzinger, is also not a bad habit if one aims for success.


Celebrated with a glass of champagne, the 15th anniversary edition of Horizons in Molecular Biology was definitely a success! Of course, not everything always goes as planned and injured knees and passport retentions can result in last minute schedule changes. Luckily, scientists who were unable to join us in 2018, Sjors Scheres and Leo James, are already confirmed as the speakers of the next year’s symposium. Together with Jen Heemstra, Gaia Pigino, Michael Rosbash, and many others, they will join us on 09-12 September 2019 at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. So mark your calendars and see you at the 16th Horizons in Molecular biology!

Katarina Harasimov and Sofiia Reshetniak


Speakers 2018


Florian Jug, Neville Sanjana, Juliane Liepe


Andrew Heron, Katherina Pappas

Cell Biology

Daniel Gerlich, Ulrike Kutay

Developmental Biology

Roeland Nusse, Peter Lenart


Polly Matzinger


Bianxiao Cui, Mara Dierssen, Michael Sheehan


Anne-Claude Gavin, Danielle Laurencin

Structural Biology

Osamu Nureki, Anna Marie Pyle, Elizabeth Villa

Synthetic Biology

Yamuna Krishnan, Floyd Romesberg

Photo gallery

More photos on our Flickr page.

For video recordings check our YouTube channel.