“I did not expect the massive number of visitors!”

The corona crisis brought distress to all of us, but it also offers chances for teaching. The students of the course “Protein Folding & Assembly” organised a virtual international symposium with high quality speakers and a world-wide audience.

Challenge to select the speakers

The Molecular Life Sciences and Chemistry students of the 3rd year course “Protein Folding and Assembly” organised the international symposium “Protein Assembly Symposium – from Folding to Fibrils” under guidance of Tessa Sinnige and Stefan Rüdiger. The 21 students made it in only 10 weeks in period 3 from the first idea to the actual conference. “The biggest challenge was selecting the speakers,” says student Nian Vervoort, “but things like deciding the topic and bringing the event to the attention of people are just as important”.

I was especially proud at the group and what we accomplished together

Sophie Klouwer

165 Participants

Five speakers from the US, Germany and the UK participated in this 2-hour symposium with high level research talks and lively discussions. “We saw this as special chance for the students, as scientists like out of the box ideas in these times of restrictions,” says Rüdiger.

In total, 165 participants were in the call, from all over the world. “I certainly did not expect the massive number of visitors,” notices student Emile van Weert, and Sophie Klouwer feels “not only really proud of myself, but I was especially proud at the group and what we accomplished together.”

Praise for the students

The invited speakers were also very enthusiastic about the symposium and the efforts put in by the students. “It is amazing what the undergraduate students have been able to pull off!” noticed speaker Christian Kaiser, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. The course organisers agree. “I was a bit nervous, but gradually it became clear that the students handled the organisation very professionally and enthusiastically,” adds Sinnige. Thus, the symposium is not only a step in the development of this group of students but also an advertisement for the Department of Chemistry and our molecular life science education.