Transparent communication

November 03, 2015

The 13th International PhD - Symposium of the Vienna Biocenter (VBC) elucidates the diverse aspects of communication. The event takes place at the Vienna Biocenter on November 5th - 6th 2015.

The PhD symposium is organized by graduate students of the four research institutes at the VBC: Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology (GMI), Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) and Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA). It is an interdisciplinary conference with 18 international highly respected scientists from Germany, England, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA, talking about the role of communication in different fields of biology - from molecular neuroscience and immunology to plant science and biolinguistics.

Very great care has been taken during the selection of the topics to represent the interests of all institutions. This year's theme of the symposium - communication - was chosen by the graduate students themselves and is divided into four levels: intra-cellular (inside the cell), inter-cellular (between cells), the intra-organismal (within the organism) and the inter-individual (between individuals) communication.
The organization of a PhD-Conference is a unique opportunity for the students to learn more about organization, management and logistics. It provides an opportunity to meet top scientists and to interact with international students. The network that is built through this and the skills that are learned are very useful for their further career. This year, 300 participants have registered for the symposium. About half of them work at the Vienna Biocenter, the other half is traveling from 25 different countries.



Here is a small selection of speakers:

Steve Diggle (Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK)
Steve’s work combines evolutionary theory with empirical studies to understand how signaling, virulence and pathogenicity evolves. He has also recently developed an interest in whether ancient medieval recipes can be used to treat infectious disease (ancientbiotics). His group builds recipes in the lab which are translated from ancient texts, and tests them against antibiotic resistant bacteria such as P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.

Daniel Davis (University of Manchester, UK)  Daniel is trying to understand what happens at the cell surface during immune cell interactions. He will present new data using high- and super-resolution imaging techniques that reveal novel insights into molecular recognition by human natural killer cells and how specific effector functions are realized. 

Joanne Webster (Royal Veterinary College & Imperial College, London, UK)
Joanne focuses her research on the evolution, epidemiology, the behavior and control of parasites in humans and animals. Her work includes research in Africa and Asia in order to elucidate the role of domestic and wild animals with regard to the transmission of disease in humans.
Simon Fisher (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, NL)
Human children have an unparalleled capacity to acquire sophisticated speech and language skills. Despite the huge complexity of the task, most children learn their native languages almost effortlessly, and do not need formal teaching to achieve a rich linguistic repertoire. Simon’s team aims to uncover DNA variations which ultimately affect different facets of our communicative abilities. Much progress has been made by investigating children with language-related disorders, and newer studies also analyze variation in relevant skills in the general population.


At the end of the symposium, the Mattias Lauwers Award will be presented for the first time for the best seminar presentation this year. Likewise, the best PhD work at the Vienna Biocenter will be acknowledged with the PhD award.


“Communication: Let’s talk about it”

Venue: Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Lecture Hall,

4th floor, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 7, Vienna Biocenter, 1030 Vienna

Time: 5/6 November 2015


More Information:



Dr. Sophie Hanak,
Communications Manager
Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie GmbH
Vienna Biocenter (VBC)
Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3, 1030 Wien
Tel.: 01 79044 3628

The Vienna Biocenter in the third district of Vienna has established itself as the premier location for life sciences in Central Europe and is a world-leading international bio-medical research center.


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