King’s at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

A guest post by Sophie Bennett, Stephanie Forkel, Renata Gomes, Iria Gomez-Touriño, Yan Liu, Christina Sakellariou, Stefano Sandrone

“Educate. Inspire. Connect” has been the guiding principle for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings since 1951. This year 37 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine met 600 international young scientists, and among them there were 7 from KCL! What is so special about this meeting? Besides the fascinating talks there are private dinners with the Laureates, a lakeside barbecue and a boat trip! As Stefano Sandrone, PhD student at the Institute of Psychiatry says, “What an amazing experience! I am really delighted for having qualified to attend”. “In Lindau we were welcomed and welcoming some of the greatest minds in science”, Christina Sakellariou, PhD student at the MRC centre for Transplantation, added. For Renata Gomes, British Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Scientist at Cardiology Dpt., “in Lindau everyone spoke Science. Lindau is unique for its focus on us, the young scientists”.

This meeting facilitated outstanding scientific encounters: Stephanie Forkel and Yan Liu, PhD students at the Dpt. of Neuroimaging and Dpt. of Clinical Neuroscience, were excited to have met Torsten Wiesel who won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system. He told them that “you should never stop doing research yourself even when you become a PI”. “The current system makes it more difficult but at least I know what is right”, concluded Yan.

There was more than just scientific exchange: Sophie Bennett, MSc/PhD student at the Dpt. of Clinical Neuroscience was “struck by their humility, their passion for research and devotion to the scientific community”. Stephanie was deeply impressed by the approachability of the laureates. The discussions in small groups also provided some truly inspiring moments: Iria Gomez-Touriño, Marie Curie IEF at the Immunobiology Dpt., remembers when “Peter Agre shared with us, in tears, the worst moment of his life. Or 89-year old Oliver Smithies, who showed us his 2014 lab notebook!”. Yan was reassured: “ I was glad after I learnt some of their opinions agreed with mine”.

We also had incredible opportunities: Stefano was a guest blogger for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting blog (http://blog.lindau-nobel.org/?p=8944 and http://blog.lindau-nobel.org/?p=9777). Renata was selected for the Discussions and became the Scientist of the Day for Friday. Iria wrote for Nature after interviewing Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of the HIV.

Sophie concludes that “it is a brilliant opportunity to share experiences with other like-minded researchers”. For Christina, “this week proved to be one of the most inspiring of my life; it has given me the required strength to continue doing what I really enjoy: being a scientist!”

For more info you can check the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings webpage with all the information to apply, lectures, the blog and pictures (http://www.lindau-nobel.org/), and also the twitter tag #lnlm14.