Friday, July 20, 2007

First participation of young Bangladeshi talents @ Lindau, Germany 2007

Minhaz Uddin Ahmed

Ph.D. Student, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST)
BSc and MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka, (2000-2001)

The 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates took place from July 2nd to July 6th, 2007 in Lindau on Lake Constance, Germany, where few young Bangladeshi talents actively participated in that event. At the invitation of the president of the council for the Nobel Laureate Meetings in Lindau, 17 Nobel Laureates including 6 in Chemistry travelled to Lake constance to discuss current scientific topics with 568 students from 64 countries or regions. Scientific talks, intimate discussions on specialist theme and personal meetings formed the focal point of the conference. The up-and-coming scientists and Nobel Laureates made intensive use of the 13 talks, related seminars and round-table discussions. Get together with all the conference participants, the concert given by the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, and the boat trip to the Island of Mainau offered opportunities for personal dialogue. The idea behind this meeting of being a “window to the world” and a venue for establishing networks reaching far beyond the five days on Lindau, Germany. To the best of our observation and knowledge, we believe that it was Mr. A. Fattah’s (former teacher of DU and retired IAEA scientist) initiative which helped us to look forward through the window to the world. He was quite successful to make a smooth bridge between Bangladesh Academy of Science (BAS) and Lindau Nobel Laureate Council and ultimately between Nobel Laureates and the young talents of Bangladesh.



[Pic:-The meeting Place: Lindau, Germany]
Laureates:

The Nobel Laureates transform the meetings on Lake Constance into a platform for scientific excellence. Their participation underlines the importance of the Lindau Meeting in the eyes of science world. Participants Nobel Laureates were as follows:
Prof. Dr. Arber, Werner, Switzerland; Prof. Dr. Blobel, Günter, USA; Prof. Dr. Ciechanover, Aaron, Israel; Prof. Dr. Eigen, Manfred Germany; Prof. Dr. Fischer, Edmond USA; Prof. Dr. Hartwell, Leland USA; Prof. Dr. Hershko, Avram Israel; Prof. Dr. Huber, Robert Germany; Prof. Dr. Hunt, Timothy United Kingdom; Prof. Dr. Mello, Craig C. USA; Prof. Dr. Michel, Hartmut Germany; Prof. Dr. Murad, Ferid USA; Prof. Dr. Neher, Erwin Germany; Prof. Dr. Nüsslein-Vollhard, Christiane Germany; Prof. Dr. Roberts, Richard USA; Prof. Dr. Sakmann, Bert Germany; Prof. Dr. Walker, Sir John United Kingdom ; Prof. Dr. Zinkernagel, Rolf Switzerland.

Young researchers and their selection criteria:

All 568 participants from 64 countries or regions had successfully completed an international, multi-stage selection process, during the course of which the best young scientists of tomorrow were chosen from 20,000 applications. Numerous universities, foundations and international research organizations worldwide had nominated these extremely talented young people. Participants were selected in a two-state process. First of all, the partners of the Lindau Council make a pre-selection from among the interested young scientists. To achieve this, the council has created a binding and transparent framework for all nominating institutions with the selection criteria that are to be applied globally.
This year, hundreds of Bangladeshis from all over the world applied through the Lindau-Bangladesh (www.lindau-bangladesh.org) home page and local selection bodies choose only ten talent young candidates. At last, the final selection was made centrally by the Lindau Nobel Laureate Council’s review panel situated at Lindau, Germany. Among others, those six young scientists with Bangladeshi Nationality discussed their own research projects in personal conversations with the authorities in their fields or get invaluable tips for their own scientific careers.

Program:

Where is Lindau?: Lindau is a German city and an island in the eastern part of the Lake Constance, the Bodensee. The historic city of Lindau is located on the 0.68 km² island which is connected with the mainland by a bridge and a railway dam. Lindau is located near where the three borders of Austria, Germany and Switzerland meet. It is nestled under the mountain Pfänder of the Alps in the lake. Due to its historic medieval city center and the pleasant location in Lake Constance, Lindau is a popular place for sightseeing tours and holidays. Annually a meeting of Nobel Prize Winners and a congress of medical physics is held in the city.

Overview of the 57th Annual MeetingJuly 1-6, 2007, first ever participants from Bangladesh
Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in physiology or medicine, chemistry and physics convene annually in Lindau, Germany, to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers.
The 2007 meeting was held from July 2-6 and focused on physiology or medicine. During the meeting, the Laureates lecture on the topics of their choice related to physiology or medicine in the mornings and participate in less formal small group discussions with the students in the afternoons and some evenings. In addition to this valuable interaction, the participants enjoy the picturesque island city of Lindau, which is located at the eastern end of Lake Constance, just north of the Swiss Alps. Located at the border of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, the medieval city is rich in central European culture.

Saturday, July 30

Upon arrival at Frankfurt Airport, all Bangladeshi participants who came from Japan collected their luggage and went to the Frankfurt flugafen station to get the long distance train. Along the way, they tried to catch up on their sleep, read, or enjoy views of the German countryside. Closer to Lindau, our travel to another country suddenly became real when the Alps came into view. Sutapa came alone from the USA and landed at local airport and then came directly to the hotel. Participants from Bangladesh arrived on the following day before the due session for registration.
Once in Lindau, we checked into the hotels — the Hotel Garni Viktoria, the Hotel Vis a Vis and Hotel Gusthaf Angel and then began to explore our new surroundings, discovering the location of the meeting, restaurants, and points of interest.

Opening Ceremony: July 1

We started our day with an overview of the day’s upcoming events. The students and young researchers could register for the meeting at their own time and then spent few hours prior to the opening ceremony while explored the historical buildings, harbor and walking on the island of landau. Some students took train to visit Austria which was just ten minutes by train without any border. Some students also rented bicycles and had their lunch there.
Late afternoon, we dressed up for the Opening Ceremony of the 57th Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Graduate Students. This was for the first time that brought all 568 students from 64 countries and regions at the Inselhalle conference center. Countess Sonja Bernadotte officially opened the meeting wearing her fashionable hat. While she was on the dais, she introduced the attending laureates and also presented the Lennart Bernadotte Medal to Michael Sohlman, executive director of the Nobel foundation from Sweden.
Petra Meier to Bernd-Seidl, the Mayor of Lindau, also welcomed the students, remarking on the importance of science to the world population. A panel discussion on Science and Humanities was also followed, presented by Professor Otfried Höffe of Eberhard-Karls University in Tübingen, Germany; Dr. Fotis Kafatos, President and Chairman of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council in Brussels, Belgium; Lord Rees of Ludlow, President of the Royal Society of London; and Professor Peter Strohschneider, Chairperson of the German Science Council of Cologne, Germany. The ceremony ended with Countess Bettina and Count Björn presenting flowers to the young musicians who provided the classical musical interludes to the ceremony.
Later that evening, the students gathered at the tent which was next to the Inselhalle for a networking meeting attended by most of the students from other delegations. Bangladeshi students interacted with the international students for a stimulating evening of conversation about culture, education, and science in different countries. Some other students along with their academic ambassadors gathered other restaurants which were close to Inselhalle.


Lectures and Meetings: July 2

After a wholehearted breakfast buffet at the German hotels, the students gathered at the Inselhalle for the opening session of the 57th Meeting.
The first talk of the morning was given by Craig Mello who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2006. He presented a compelling talk on "RNAi and the Development of C. elegans" or "How a Worm Won 5 Nobel Prizes in Medicine." In his remarks, he deduced his belief that science should be conducted in an atmosphere of openness and trust and that
communication with collaborators is very crucial.

Nobel winner in 1998, Prof. Ferid Murad, discussed the sources and benefits of nitric oxide in his talk, "Nitric Oxide as a Messenger Molecule and its Role in Drug Development."
Hartmut Michel, winner of the prize in chemistry in 1988, concluded the morning lectures with his topic on Biofuels – Sense or Nonsense.
After lunch the students and young researchers were asked to join for guided city tour in the rainy atmosphere!
After that at around 15:00 hrs the students convened in small groups for focused discussions with the laureates who had given the morning program in addition the Nobel Laureates who were specially invited. The evening program brought all students and laureates together for an evening of socializing and dancing. Laureates were seated at the centers of long tables with students around them. During the buffet dinner, students had unlimited access to the laureates at their tables. This social get-together was welcomed by Countess Sonja Bernadotte and Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Innovation, Science, Research and Technology of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.


(I along with Prof. Manfred Eigen, Germany, Noble Laureates in Chemistry 1967)

The highlight of the evening was the traditional polonaise during which women and men paired up at random, promenaded across the dance floor, and finished with a waltz. Later the music became more modern and the dancing faster as students from all countries and laureates enjoyed a different kind of communication.

Lectures and Meetings: July 3

The first talk of the morning was given by Sir Timothy Hunt who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001 along with Leland H. Hartwell and Sir Paul M. Nurse. He delivered a lively talk on "The Cell Cycle and Cancer." As it was the second day of the meeting, the students and young researchers were much adept with the purpose of the meeting and tried to take their seats and positions quite early with enthusiasm to listen the some more interesting talks.Prof. Hunt said, “My own involvement in this field came about by accident in the early 1980s while I was trying to understand the control of protein synthesis in sea urchin eggs, and I discovered the cyclins, translationally regulated proteins that undergo rapid periodic destruction as fertilized eggs of sea urchins and clams divide to form embryos. The cyclins eventually proved to be the activating subunits of a protein kinase that can be thought of as the master regulator of the cell cycle and today we understand this regulation in very considerable depth and detail, although many deep mysteries remain”. He talked about how we know what we know and what we'd like to know and how understanding the control of the cell cycle relates to the all-important subject of understanding and treating cancer.

Edmond Fischer, Nobel winner in 2001, delivered his talk "Protein Crosstalk in Cell Signaling." He emphasized on cellular regulation by tyrosine phosphorylation which has been directly implicated in cell growth, differentiation and transformation.
After a short break, the students were treated to a very engaging and witty roundtable discussion consisting of Laureates Günter Blobel, Leland Hartwell, Sir Timothy Hunt, and Craig Mello. The topic was "Basic Science in Molecular Medicine." After some brief comments by the Laureates, the group entertained questions from the audience that ranged from social issues in medicine to details about the Laureates’ research.
Following the morning session, the U.S. participants lead by Dr. Hirsch hosted a lunch at the Hotel Stift with participants from India and Bangladesh.

After lunch, the students again gathered at the Inselhalle for a “Science Bazaar” which was arranged for the first time in this meeting. All 17 of the attending Laureates were stationed around the auditorium with a small group of chairs. Students were invited to stop at as many Laureate stations as they chose to ask questions or exchange ideas in the true spirit of a bazaar.
Our academic ambassador Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal and A. Fattah sir invited us to join a dinner. We choose a restaurant close to Inselhalle. Our first official discussion were animated and lasted for couple of hours, covered with a wide array of topics. Besides, different hotels were rushed by the Lindau meeting participants all over the island.

Lectures and Meetings: July 4

This day’s session was opened with a talk entitled “Grey Matter(s)" by Bert Sakmann, winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1991. This was followed by a presentation given by Avram Hershko, Nobel winner in 2004 for chemistry.
Werner Arber, winner in 1978, chose the topic “Darwinian Evolution as Understood by Scientists of the 21st Century.” In his speech, elements to a molecular theory of Darwinien evolution were presented. He said, biological evolution is driven by the availability of genetic variants in populations. The occasional generation of genetic variants was brought about by cooperative actions of products of evolution genes and of non-genetic elements. He also discussed that three qualitatively different natural strategies (local sequence change, intragenomic rearrangement of DNA segments, and DNA acquisition by horizontal gene transfer) contribute each with a few specific mechanisms to the overall mutagenesis.
Additional presentations were made by Günter Blobel (physiology or medicine, 1999), who talked on “Nucleo-cytoplasmic Traffic,” and Robert Huber (chemistry, 1988) on “Proteolysis and its Regulation, A Molecular Basis.”
The afternoon session again consisted of small-group scientific discussions hosted by the morning speakers at the Inselhalle and Altes Rathaus. Then all students were provided dinner in the Inselhalle tent but still some could strike out on their own to take advantage of the many restaurants on the island.
At around 20 hrs, special concert at the city Theatre by the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra was arranges, where the soloist was Maestro Gabor Takacs-Nagy. Prof. Zafar Iqbal sir said, it was difficult to determine when to clap to appreciate the touching music!

Lectures and Meetings: July 5

The morning session began with a presentation by Laureate Richard Roberts (physiology or medicine, 1993) who spoke on “Why I Love Microbes.” Following several questions to Roberts from the audience, Laureate Aaron Ciehanover (chemistry, 2004) spoke on “The Dynamics of Our Proteins: From Basic Mechanisms onto the Patient Bed.”
After a short break, Rolf Zinkernagel (physiology or medicine, 1996) presented his talk, “Why Do We Not Have a Vaccine for TB or HIV Yet?”
To close out the morning session, five of the Laureates participated on a roundtable panel on the subject “Medical Sciences and Society.” Participants were Edmond Fischer, Avram Hershko, Ferid Murad, Erwin Neher, and Richard Roberts.
After lunch, scientific discussion in individual groups was held between Nobel Laureates and Young researchers at the Inselhalle and Altes Rathaus. Then all students were provided dinner in the Inselhalle tent but still some could take advantage to take food in the island’s fine restaurants.
We then gathered on a Thai restaurant to eat some curries with our academic ambassador and Fattah sir. We discussed how to improve further in the participation of Lindau Meeting in future, specially how to motivate more young scientists, sponsors and institutes for their active participations. In this meeting, we decided how to circular the next meeting program for Economists and Physicists. The dinner concluded with some nice ideas from all pariticipants.
Final day: Boat trip to the Isle of Mainau
At the early morning, almost all participants along with Nobel laureates were guided for the boat trip. We departed at around 8 am from Lindau harbor and reached at Isle of Mainau after two and half hour journey. During boat trip interaction with laureates was so informal and we listened intently their opinions and suggestions. Some young researchers were seen to involve with last-minute exchange before rushing off to the Mainau Island.


Quotes from the Meeting: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~****~~~~~

Lindau Comes right after Stockholm-------- Prof Dr. Wolfgang Schurer Chairman, Foundation of Lindau Nobel Prize winners meetings at Lake Constance, Germany
A theory can be proved by experiment; but no path leads from experiment to the birth of a theory. ---------Manfred Eigen, Nobel Prize Winner on Chemistry, 1967
A worm got five Nobel Prizes!!!, yes it is C. elecgans which helped researchers around the world to work extensively and being awarded. ------------ Craig C. Mellow, Nobel Prize Winner on Physiology or Medicine, 2006

Collaboration; it’s almost like a love affair. ----Sir Timothy Hunt, Nobel Prize winner on Physiology or Medicine, 2001

Funding should be provided to young, energetic and enthusiastic scientist rather than old fellows who even cannot write good grant proposal.------- Richard J Roberts, Nobel Prize winner on Physiology or Medicine, 1993

Beautiful ideas killed by ugly facts. ----------Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize winner on Physiology or Medicine, 1999

Mental diseases are coming up as a great challenge for you. ---------- Gunter Blobel, Nobel Prize winner on Physiology or Medicine, 1999

Companies usually manufacture drugs which cannot cure completely.----------- Richard J Roberts, Nobel Prize winner on Physiology or Medicine, 1993

I know of no other meeting in the world where leading scientists spend so much time to interact with students, there are many conferences organized around science, but this one organizes science around interaction.------ Roland Hirsch, Department of Energy, who leads the US delegation to Lindau for the eighth time in 2007

(Pic:-Once in a life-time, first ever participants from Bangladesh, from top left; Khademul Islam, Prof. M. Zafar Iqbal (as an academic ambassador), Minhaz Uddin Ahmed, SM Touhidul Islam and A. Fattah (Organizer and Media representative for Bangladesh); from bottom left, Jakia Amin, Ayesha Sania and Sutapa Barua)





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WOW!!!it is something really prestigious for a fellow biochemist to have you as the first participant of this grand occasion. really...
although um pretty late, but till, "congratulations"..!!!

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