PhD Days 2018: Gathering the PhD community in life sciences

2018 - 11 - 07

The 2018 edition of the PhD Days organised by the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering of the University of Luxembourg attracted roughly 100 doctoral candidates to the Maison du Savoir in Esch-sur-Alzette on 18th and 19th October.

Organised since 2013, the PhD Days are a key scientific event in Luxembourg for doctoral candidates in biomedical research. During two days PhD candidates have the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects through oral and poster presentations and network with their peers. This year, the event included five keynote lectures, 14 talks by PhD candidates and four poster sessions.

The prizes for the best oral presentations, sponsored by LIH, went to Marina Wierz from LIH’s Department of Oncology (1st prize, 500 Euros), Nicolas Jung from the Life Sciences Research of the University of Luxembourg (2nd prize, 400 Euros) and Clara Berenguer from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine of the University of Luxembourg (3rd prize, 300 Euros).

Winner Marina Wierz convinced the jury of senior researchers with her presentation on a promising dual immunotherapy for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Marina exposed how she characterised the immune cell populations in murine CLL and demonstrated the efficiency of anti-PD1/anti-LAG3 immunotherapeutic treatment in limiting tumour development in mouse models. Marina was satisfied with her participation to the PhD Days: ‘I see this meeting as great opportunity to interact with other PhD candidates working at different locations in Luxembourg’, she says. ‘I enjoyed presenting my work and getting the prize on top was really amazing.’

The prize for the best research poster, subsidised by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), was awarded to Yolanda Pires Afonso from LIH’s Department of Oncology (400 Euros). She presented her project on the role of tumour-associated microglia/macrophages (TAMs) in the brain. She is currently investigating the contribution of TAMs towards the tumorigenic process by analysing their phenotypic and functional adaptation in Glioblastoma. ‘I am very happy to receive this award. The PhD Days were a great occasion to exchange with others and get valuable feedback on my work’, states Yolanda.

The PhD Days were organised by a committee of PhD candidates affiliated to the Doctoral Programme in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering. Neha Patil, doctoral candidate at LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity, tells about her first experience as event organiser: ‘Organising and holding the PhD Days was such a fun task though I did not imagine the massive amount of work that goes into the planning. I had incredible teammates and the end result turned out to be great. If I had to, I would gladly do this again.’


Winners of the PhD Days Awards: Yolanda Pires Afonso (left) and Marina Wierz (right)


Organising committee of the PhD Days. Neha Patil is the second on the left