Author: Antonia Peter
Last week, the entire INsTRuCT consortium gathered in Regensburg for the Final Meeting. This
conference brought together ESRs, supervisors, industry partners, and guests from all over
Europe. Over the course of three days, the meeting served as a catalyst for knowledge
exchange and cultivation of collaborations. From thought-provoking keynotes to stimulating
panel discussions, each session provided a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
The week was kicked off with a group activity. During a hike alongside the river Danube and a visit to the monastery Weltenburg, we dived into Bavarian cultures and traditions, best to be experienced in a Biergarten. ESRs enjoyed each other’s company in a relaxed setting, generating some headspace for the following INsTRuCT meeting.
During the two days that followed, ESRs shared data generated in the past three years,
illustrating their important contributions to the immune tolerance field. We heard excellent
keynote talks by invited speakers Hinrich Abken, Silvia Gregori, Eva Palsson-McDermott,
Niloufar Safinia and Gunther Glehr on the forefront topics of immune tolerance including
CAR-T cells, Treg cell therapy, tolDC, immunometabolism and novel data analysis approaches.
These sessions served as a platform for fruitful discussions and promising collaborations
towards new research directions.
The meeting also featured an interactive session with various industry partners, providing a unique opportunity for ESRs to gain real-life insights into different career paths in academia and industry. Beyond the scientific program, the meeting fostered a lively environment for networking. Attendees from diverse backgrounds and disciplines connected during informal get-togethers, such as coffee/lunch breaks and networking dinners. This opportunity for knowledge sharing among like-minded scientists even extended beyond the meeting itself. ESRs returned to their host institutions with new insights and a strengthened network of collaborators, ready for the final steps in their PhD studies.
Special thanks go to Project Coordinator James Hutchinson, Training Coordinator Marieke van Ham, Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions, Innovation Acta, Christine Bayer, the host institutions, all supervisors, industry partners, and the student representative Ioana Nicorescu for making it all possible.
ESRs started their doctoral research projects in foreign countries during the challenging times
of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they helped and supported each other all the way through.
Soon, they will take the next step in their careers, with invaluable experience gained from
The closing moments of the meeting were tinged with sentimental emotions, however this was certainly not goodbye. The consortium will continue to support every one of us until the end of his/her PhD and even beyond that. We will certainly cross paths again at international conferences, and the friendships created will last throughout our careers. We were given an excellent education, and now it is on us to go out into this world as independent scientists, with a lot of hope and excitement for the future.
On a more personal note, I thank all ESRs from the bottom of my heart and wish you only the best: Alessia, Tomi, Nina, Fede, Maria, Ayesha, Maaike, Zahra, Jorge, Christine, Laura, Ioana, Benjamin, and Giulia. This has been much more than any of us could have imagined in the beginning. You will do great things, whichever path you decide to follow, both personal and professional. I shall miss you dearly. Please stay in touch!