This year’s PhD Days of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering, held on 7th and 8th December 2017 at Maison du Savoir in Esch-sur-Alzette, were again a great success, attracting close to 120 doctoral candidates and other researchers.
Organised since 2013, the PhD Days have become a key scientific event for doctoral candidates in Luxembourg carrying out their projects in the biomedical research field. The 2-day meeting offers an opportunity for PhD candidates to build networks, present their projects through oral and poster presentations, receive critical feedback and learn about the research topics of their peers.
This year, the event comprised six keynote lectures with well-known speakers from abroad, attracting a large audience including senior scientists. 17 PhD candidates presented their work with 15-min oral presentations. Additionally, two poster sessions were organised during which the young researchers could give 2-min flash presentations on the content of their posters. The conference also included a social event at the end of the first day to gather in a relaxed atmosphere.
Three PhD candidates from LIH - Miriam Fougeras, Davide Franchina and Yolanda Pires Afonso - were part of the organising team. They comment on their contribution and impressions: ‘The PhD Days represent a great occasion to learn something new and get to know other students and ideas, particularly for first-year PhD candidates. Organising a scientific conference requires a lot of preliminary planning and tasks delegation, with back-up plans for pretty much everything! We have had the great opportunity to develop non-technical skills and experience, with all the fun associated with setting up a scientific event!’
Next to the financial support by the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering of the University of Luxembourg, the PhD Days were sponsored by private companies developing reagents, consumables and laboratory equipment. LIH contributed by offering the prizes for the best three oral presentations given by PhD candidates, and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) subsidised the prize for the best poster presentation.
Antoun Al-Absi, PhD candidate at the Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research at LIH’s Department of Oncology, was selected for the first “Excellent Presentation Award” for his talk entitled “Actin cytoskeleton remodelling drives breast cancer cell escape from natural killer cell lysis”. The results from his PhD project indicate that targeting tumour actin cytoskeleton could be a strategy to reinforce the efficiency of anti-cancer immunotherapies. ‘I am really proud to win the “Excellent Talk Award” at the PhD Days. This prize is a source of motivation for me at all levels’, comments Antoun.
The second prize was handed to Torkia Lalem, PhD candidate at the Cardiovascular Research Unit in LIH’s Department of Population Health. She presented her work on Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor 1 C (CDKN1C) which she identified as a female-specific biomarker of cardiac function after acute myocardial infarction. Dunja Stojevski, PhD candidate at the Life Sciences Research Unit (LSRU) of the University of Luxembourg, received the third prize. Ines Kozar, PhD candidate at the LSRU and member of CANBIO, one of the FNR-funded PRIDE doctoral research and training programmes, was awarded with the “Excellent Poster Award”.
Prof Serge Haan, Director of the Doctoral School in Science and Engineering
An audience of young and senior researchers
"Excellent Talk Award” - 1st prize for Antoun Al-Absi, LIH
"Excellent Talk Award” - 2nd prize for Torkia Lalem, LIH
"Excellent Talk Award” - 3rd prize for Dunja Stojevski, University of Luxembourg
“Excellent Poster Award” for Ines Kozar, University of Luxembourg