Munich Symposium: Viral offense and immune defense

5 October 2010

I arrived in Munich, Germany today for the start of a Symposium entitled ‘Viral offense and immune defense’. It is organized by Collaborative Research Center 455 (in German, Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB 455); these are centers funded by the German Research Foundation that support collaborative research throughout the country. This meeting will highlight 21 internationally renowned speakers in the fields of virology, immunology and gene therapy and the latest achievements of the intensive research and collaborations within the SFB 455. The organizers wish to share this excellent scientific program with a broad audience, and therefore there is no cost to attend the meeting. You can see the scientific program here.

I was invited to attend this symposium by two Ph.D. students who are part of SFB 455, Jens Bosse and Stefan Jordan. I would like to share their invitation letter which explains more about the SFB and the meeting:

We are the Ph.D students of the Collaborative Research Center 455 (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB 455) “Viral functions and immunomodulation” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Collaborative Research Centers are long-term University research ventures in which scientists work together within an interdisciplinary research program.

We created a network called “Junior Faculty” to support each other not only on a scientific basis but also in personal matters. We organize yearly retreats and discuss our projects with senior scientists and guests from companies.

By the end of 2010 the SFB 455 will finish. On this occasion we will organize an international symposium with about 20 scientists leading in virology and immunology.

Lots of our members are avid listeners of TWIV. This podcast is an outstanding example of how virology can be brought to a wide listenership without loosing depth.

Moreover, for many of us “Principles in Virology” was the foundation to become virologists.

It would be thrilling to have the chance of meeting you personally and learn more about your research and career as well as TWIV. We could also set up some equipment for a live-TWIV from Munich if you would like.

An inspiring atmosphere will encourage close interactions and open discussions between guests and ourselves. Thus the “Junior Faculty” Symposium will become a great experience for all of us.

I’m honored to be part of this wonderful meeting, not only because of the outstanding science, but also for the opportunity to interact with young scientists. Jens and Stefan understand my efforts to teach the public about virology, and I’m looking forward to doing TWiV before the next generation of virologists.

We will record TWiV in Munich on 7 October 2010. The event will not be live streamed, as Jens and Stefan had hoped, but will be recorded and released as episode #102. Our guests will be Andrew Baker (adenovirus tropism and gene therapy), Karl-Klaus Conzelmann (genetics and host cell interplay of mononegavirales), Peter Palese (towards a universal influenza virus vaccine), and Katharina Eisenächer (RNA helicase RIG-I and its regulation).