IGSN/SFB 874 Conference 2022
Sensory encoding and the emergence of memory
Neuroscientists discuss current research topics at the SFB 874/IGSN Conference at Ruhr-Universität Bochum
It has become a fixed institution in the neuroscientific research landscape – the annual IGSN Conference at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. For the 13th time, the International Graduate School of Neuroscience (IGSN) organised the internationally renowned exchange on the latest topics in neuroscience on 26 and 27 April. This year’s partner was the Collaborative Research Centre 874.
Internationally renowned speakers
Nine international top scientists accepted the invitation of the IGSN and the SFB 874 this year and came to the Ruhr for two days to report on the latest findings of their research under the heading “Sensory encoding and the emergence of memory”.
Simon Hanslmayr (Glasgow), Jens Prüssner (Constance) and Jan Theeuwes (Amsterdam) examined various factors that influence brain functions from three different perspectives. Sage Boettcher (Oxford), Jennifer L. Raymond (Stanford) and David Burr (Florence) reported on fascinating structures behind information processing and behaviour control. The field of neuromodulation was the focus of Daniel Senkowski (Berlin), Friedhelm Hummel (Geneva) and Oxana Eschenko (Tübingen).
“The special thing about our concept is that at the IGSN Conference, there are only speakers who have been selected by our PhD students themselves in advance. The students invite the guests and accompany them through the day,” describes Prof. Dr. Carsten Theiß, speaker of the IGSN. “This ‘bottom-up’ approach has two major advantages. Firstly, our PhD candidates design their programme themselves according to their wishes and needs. Thus, they achieve the greatest possible added value from two days of lectures and discussion. And secondly, by being actively involved in the organisation of the event, our PhD students acquire important complementary qualifications for their later academic careers – and successful networking is also included.”
Integrated IGSN qualification concept
The conference is an important component of the holistic qualification concept of the IGSN. The educational curriculum is supported by monthly symposia, regular international training visits and complementary skills training. “The IGSN offers a PhD-programme that integrates research with an educational curriculum and qualifies young scientists to compete at the highest level of international neuroscience,” explains Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan, director of the IGSN and spokesperson for SFB 874. “The success confirms our approach: since its founding in 2001, the IGSN has already accompanied 187 graduates, more than ten percent of whom now even hold professorial positions.”
Currently, around 35 young researchers are doing their doctorates at the Graduate School and the associated IRTG of the SFB 874 – one of them is SFB 874-PhD student Susanne Dyck, Department of Neurotechnology at the University Hospital Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum. “This year I was particularly looking forward to the conference, as it could take place in person again after the long Covid break,” she reports enthusiastically. “The IGSN conference is an ideal opportunity for scientific exchange – not only with other researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, but with renowned scientists from all over the world. The interesting lectures and subsequent discussions are every time an enrichment and source of motivation for the own research work.”
SFB 874-PhD student Gabriele Russo from the Neurophysiology Department of the Medical Faculty at Ruhr-Universität Bochum loves the international flair of the event. “I came to Bochum from Bari, Italy, for the IGSN and I really appreciate being part of the team,” says Russo. “The training is extraordinarily diverse, all the scientists are highly motivated and pursue a common denominator with all their ambition – the highest academic excellence in the spirit of neuroscience.”