University of Würzburg Graduate Schools - Graduate School of Life Sciences

    2012 / No 2 GSLS spring newsletter


    Dear doctoral researchers, PIs, and friends,

    "How do you see research & innovation making a difference for a better future?", "What are your main concerns for the future?", "What is needed to exit the crisis and help Europe´s economy to grow?" Such were the questions at the Parlamentary Evening Berlin with members of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Max Planck Society (MPG), and guests. The positive news of this evening is the 2014 agenda for innovation and research, the so-called "HORIZON 2020 - Basic Research in Europe". From 2014 on the European Union wants to spend more than 80 billion euros to further promote research as part of Europe´s growth strategy. The agenda is expected to be adopted in mid-2013. +++ Regarding the Bologna Process another goal was set by the 47 research ministers of the European higher education area in Bucharest this April. They agreed on a "Mobility Strategy 2020" saying that the future for young Europeans lies in their mobility. Each member state is to develop its own strategy in order to enhance graduate mobility. Let´s go! +++ Inhouse news: the Doctoral Research Council (DRC) of the GSLS has had elections recently. In the above photo you see Iris Gonzalez Leal, Nadine Heydenreich, Anne Dwertmann, Marion Zeller, and Sebastian Kaiser. Congratulations to the new team! +++ This year´s Graduate Schools Day is on 26 July and all doctoral researchers and PIs of the four Graduate Schools are cordially invited to attend!

    With kind regards,
    Rose Liebert

    1. Featured Paper

    The 7th round of the featured paper contest has been opened: win a prize of 250 euros for a conference participation or external research stay. All GSLS doctoral researchers may send their publications dating from January 2012 onwards and run for the next "Featured Paper". Closing date: 31 June 2012

    2. Doctoral Researchers´ Affairs

     Doctoral Researchers´Council

    • Congratulations to the newly elected DRC members: Iris Gonzalez Leal, Nadine Heydenreich, Anne Dwertmann, Marion Zeller, and Sebastian Kaiser! Welcome to Nadine Heydenreich (Neurology, Group of Prof. Stoll/Kleinschnitz) and Sebastian Kaiser (section Biomedicine, Group of Prof. Kisker). The introduction of the new DRC members and communication of the doctoral researchers´ survey took place at the second general assembly at the RVZ on 16 April 2012
    • Many thanks to the leaving members of the DRC Anja Troge and Marie Vidal
    • Meet the DRC here
    • Find us on facebook
    • Visit the website of our last symposium and send us an email
    • Looking backwards: great success of the social events organized by the DRC during the Welcome Week, especially the Weißwurstfrühstück: new members of the GSLS got in touch with each other in a really familiar surrounding
    • Looking forward: the 7th GSLS PhD Symposium takes place on 16 and 17 October 2012, venue: RVZ. It focuses on "EPOS - Everythings´ Part Of Science". As every year there will be talks of guest speakers and of doctoral researchers on day one. Highlight is the talk of Dr. Mark Benecke who is a forensic biologist ("Lord of the Maggots"). On day two is a Career Session and the Poster Award.
    • Get the DRC shirt here

    Greetings from…

    • ... Bhopal, India.  Chitra Thakur talks about her time as a doctoral researcher
    • ... New Delhi, India. Christina Popp is sending greetings from her research stay which is supported by the Graduate Schools through the DAAD program "A New Passage to India"

    How I applied at the GSLS

    • Doctoral researchers and postdocs tell their stories about their application process at the GSLSPatrick Tan from Malaysia, Amod Godbole and Anup James Shirley, both from India.

    3. GSLS Newsdesk

    The GSLS welcomes new PIs!

    Honors and Awards for GSLS PIs

    • The Universitätsförderpreis der Mainfränkischen Wirtschaft with 40,000 euros has been awarded to Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel-Humeida and Dr. Rosalia Deeken of the Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences for their translational research on Agrobacterium vitis. They want to develop a diagnostic quick test on the causal agent of crown gall disease in grapevine. Read more (in German)
    • The Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities has honored ZINF junior group leader Dr. Cynthia Sharma because of her creative approach in molecular bilology working with Helicobacter pylori. She is now supported with 1000 euros per month for at least three years which she can use according to her own priorities - may  it be for lab material, for visiting conferences or for the day career mother of her own child. Read more (in German)
    • Communicator-Prize 2012 goes to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Tautz. The bee scientist has been honored with what is regarded as Germany's most important award when it comes to communicating research results to the public and the media. Read more
    • Two significant awards have gone to Dr. Katrin Paeschke, Biochemisty, for her outstanding research on genetic material: the Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz-Prize of the DFG and the Röntgenpreis of the university (in German)

    Some Scientific Findings by GSLS doctoral researchers

    • Translational Research. The severe infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a worldwide problem in hospitals. The inhibition of an enzyme involved in the staphylococcal fatty acid biosynthesis has been investigated by Johannes Schiebel as a potential way to find promising drug candidates. Read more 
    • What happens if the guard system of tumour cells is being targeted? Lidan Liu and Nathiya Muthalagu  demonstrated together with other researchers that targeting cellular energy homeostasis is a valid therapeutic strategy to eliminate tumour cells. These findings were published in the journal Nature. Read more 

    Graduate Schools Day - 26 July 2012

    • Doctoral researchers of all four Graduate Schools are invited to join the Graduate Schools Day! It takes place on 26 July 2012 and is scheduled from 2:30 to 9:30 pm. Starting with an introduction for both GSST and GSLS doctoral researchers and principal investigators about issues like funding opportunities, Professor Karl Mannheim (Astronomy) then gives a talk on "Evolution Of The Universe We Live In" (4:15 to 5:15 pm). Venue is Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, Haus D15. The ensuing Graduation Ceremony again takes place during the boat trip with dinner on the Main River. The boat leaves from the Main quay Alter Kranen at 6:30 pm. International doctoral researchers and postdocs are especially welcome to join the Graduate Schools Day!

    Graduate Schools

    • There are four Graduate Schools at the University of Würzburg: the GSLS, the GSH, the GSLES, the GSST

    Transferable Skills Program

    • The third round MENTORING life sciences has opened and female doctoral researchers are invited to participate in the one-year program. Be smart - take part
    • BERLIN study trip. With regard to the 2012 Science Year "Project Earth" vital questions like "How do we want to live? What will we live on? And how can we preserve our environment?" will be discussed at the Federal Ministry for Research and Education. Read more
    • The next Career Luncheon series takes place in fall 2012. Impart your favorite company! Read more
    • The 2012 Schedule

    Scientific Courses organized by the GSLS

    • Beginner's course in R, a program package for statistical data analysis, modeling and visualization; course dates: May 30, 31 and June 6, 13, 20; 4 - 8 pm each. Read more

    4. University News

    New Vice Presidents

    • Barbara Sponholz, Geography, and Andrea Szczesny, Economics, have been elected new vice presidents of the University of Würzburg. Margarete Götz hadn´t run for a second term. The Board of Governors has now got five members together with Martin Lohse who is also Director of the Graduate Schools, Eckhard Pache, and Wolfgang Riedel. Read more (in German) 

    New Provost

    • Suggested by the University Council Uwe Klug was appointed new provost by university president Alfred Forchel. Read more (in German)


    • Between Physics and Chemistry
      • Femto-second. The DFG is funding a new junior research group with 1.2 million euros for their research at the interface between physics and chemistry. They are exploring laser light on processes in a span of a billionth of a millionth of a second (= 1 femto-second). Read more (in German)
      • "Solar Technologies Go Hybrid". With this new research initiative the State of Bavaria is funding five university research centers to explore sustainable energy supplies. The Würzburg Center for Nanosystems Chemistry will get a new research building and considerable funds for research. Read more in English or in German
    • Between Biology and Chemistry
      • Mass Spectrometry analyzing proteins and their modifications. Read more
    • Between Biology and Medicine
      • The new Bavarian Center for Molecular Biosystems "pools and strengthens biosystems research in Bavaria". Their focus in biomedicine is on areas with key relevance to all academic and economic activities. Read more

    Honey bees

    • Honey bee larvae seem to tolerate transgenic maize. Read more

    University Events

    5. Off Campus


    • Horst Hippler was elected president of the German Rectors´Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz; HRK) for one term (1 May 2012 until 31 August 2015). His predecessor Margret Wintermantel - who was the first female chair - is now president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Read more (in German)
    • Joachim Gauck was elected Federal President of Germany last March. Read more

    German Rectors´ Conference (HRK) - The Voice of the Universities

    Max-Planck Research


    • Translation in Infection and Inflammation. The German Research Ministry (BMBF) supports efforts to translate results of research into practice. Read more
    • Networking. Competition for promoting local education and competence networks: how can businesses and universities jointly promote knowledge and sustainablity? Read more (in German)
    • New Research Framework Programme. The world's largest funding program for research projects being launched. Read more

    Academic Writing Borderlines

    • Scientific Publication Stopped. For months public authorities have tried to prevent scientists from publishing their findings on a deadly mutant-flu virus because they have described "how dangerous forms of avian influenza could evolve in the wild". It was feared that the publication could be misused by terrorists if they "create a human pandemic strain". Now a revised paper by Yoshihiro Kawaoka has been published in Nature. Read more 
    • Ghostwriting Questioned. Ghostwriters provide tailored texts for pharmaceutical companies. Thus it is not surprising when effects and side-effects are downplayed. Read more in English or in German

    West Africa´s Biodiversity

    • Three atlases on "Biodiversity Transect Analysis" (BIOTA) have been launched recently describing the flora and fauna of Benin, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The ten-year project was funded by the German Research Ministry (BMBF). Read more (in German)

    Gender Equality

    • A considerable number of women start their careers in the natural sciences, however, another considerable number does not proceed after their doctorate. To change this fact and to further increase competitiveness of research in Germany at the same time leading German research societies are receiving 4.9 billion euros from both the federal and state governments by 2015. Read more (in German) 
    • Program for female professors is succeeding. In Germany the proportion of female professors has reached a new peak. The percentage of females who hold a chair has increased from eight percent in 1995 to 19 percent in 2012. The percentage varies between the different disciplines: whereas languages and cultural sciences have over 20 percent women at professor level it is in engineering only 9 percent, in mathematics and natural sciences it is 12 percent. Read more (in German)


    • Foreign Qualification. The Internet portal "Recognition in Germany" helps interested individuals have their foreign professional certificates assessed in relation to German equivalents. Read more
    • Doing a Doctorate in Germany. Information for international PhD candidates. Read more
    • Partner Organizations on all Continents. Record by the DFG here (in German)
    • Data and Facts. Comparisions with other countries reveal where we stand. Read more 
    • Former HRK president Margret Wintermantel regrets bureaucratic hurdles and suspects that Blue Card makes sense
    • Good for Germany - highly-skilled migrants. Read more

    News from ...

    •  ... the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin´s return. Read more 
    • ... France´s new President Francois Hollande. Read more
    • ... Greece. Politicians who represent the country's broken system have been spurned. Read more
    • ... the Pirates, Germany´s new strong party. Read more
    • ... soccer team captain Philipp Lahm about the European Football Championship in the Ukraine. Read more 
    • ... the Euro. Read more


    Image is courtesy of Nina Simon, section Infection and Immunity.
    Transmission blocking vaccine (TBV). Vaccine antigens of sexual stage parasites were injected into the human host and antibodies were generated. Parasites take up malaria parasites and antibodies with the blood meal. The sexual stage-specific antibodies block parasite transmission in the mosquito and therefore malaria infection of the next human host (modified from

    contact: liebert(at)

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