Confessions at PhD Retreat

The annual PhD Retreat in the Clinic Valens offers the students a chance to exchange research ideas and results as well as learn more about the clinic. The program opened with a Confession Session, moderated by Prof. Tobi Delbruck in which he opened the floor to sharing mistakes in research to learn from them.

The 20th PhD Retreat opened on May 24 with the first session of Short Talks on PhD Research Projects. During the retreat there were 3 such session with 26 talks in total. Additionally, an impressive 43 posters were presented.

Next up on the program was the Confession Session: Serendipity and errors in research – some experiences, moderated by Prof. Tobi Delbruck of the Institute of Neuroinformatics, In his introduction, he made the case that everybody makes mistakes, but mostly we do not hear about them and this is a missed opportunity to learn from them. Prof. Delbruck led the way by sharing some of his mistakes and was followed by 4 PhD students, who shared their learnings from mistakes made by themselves or others.

On Friday May 25, Prof. Denis Burdakov, Institute for Neuroscience, ETH Zurich gave his plenary talk entitled “Brain State Control” in which he talked about brain computations that convert sensory context into appropriate actions, appetites, and arousal. His research provides insight into the brain circuits underlying what motivates us to be physically active.

PhD students learned more about the clinic in a patient presentation session by Dr. Roman Gonzenbach, the head of the neurorehabilitation clinic, followed by a guided tour through the clinic. The clinical part of the program is always particularly valued by the participants as it motivates them in their daily lab work.

Prof. Ludwig Kappos, Neurology Clinic, University Hospital Basel closed the scientific part of the program with his plenary talk “MS therapy – from bench to bedside and back” about progress made in the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis with a monoclonal antibody called Ocrelizumab.

See full program here


Impressions of the PhD Retreat