The main goal of this visit was to advance the already existing cooperation in training of young scientists and explore the potential for research collaboration. At the same time, the visitors were interested to get an insight into how science and teaching is organized in Germany.
Ukraine is currently undertaking profound reforms, including in higher education and science, thus the direct exchange on the best practices from successful international organizations is of particularly high relevance. This visit became possible thanks to the fruitful cooperation between the MDC and the Humboldt University of Berlin (HUB). It was organized in close collaboration with Dr. Stefan Karsch (International Office/HUB) within the framework of the existing cooperation agreement between the HUB and TSNUK and funded through the EU Erasmus+ program.
Within the scientific part of the visit, Prof. Michael Bader provided the visitors with an overview of the MDC and its research. Dr. Natalia Alenina (AG Bader) presented her current research project with Ukrainian and Russian partners “Serotonin in stem cell potency and differentiation”, which is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Prof. Oliver Daumke offered the highlights of his current research, followed by a very well-received talk of Prof. Ihor Komarov (IHT/TSNUK) on photoswitching of biological activity of peptides. Furthermore, the delegation visited the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC ) to learn more on how the MDC organizes its translational research and cooperation with clinical partners. Dr. Florian Herse (AG Müller) presented some recent findings from his collaborative project in placenta biology and bioinformatics, which he has successfully established with partners in Kyiv, Ukraine. Throughout the visit, the researchers had an opportunity to explore a few interesting leads for potential joint research projects and got insights into possible funding schemes available to support them.
In addition to the research talks and visits to scientific technology platforms at the MDC and FMP, the visitors also met and had in-depth discussions with a broad range of science managers from the HUB International Office and Quality Management Department, BIMSB/MDC, MDC Graduate School and Postdoc Office, Office for Scientific Infrastructures and Technology Platforms, Department for Strategic Cooperations and Research Funding, MDC “Labor trifft Lehrer” program, Campus Berlin-Buch GmbH and the “Gläsernes Labor”. They also learnt about the EU-funded LifeTime project and how Ukrainian institutions could become associate partners to this ambitious international endeavor.
Already in a few weeks two IHT/TSNUK Master students, funded by the same Erasmus+ project, will join labs of Prof. Nikolaus Rajewsky and Prof. Clemens Schmitt. They will undertake research for their thesis projects and in the process gain advanced research skills in some of the best labs in the world. “This is the first tangible and encouraging step and we believe that the visit of the Ukrainian delegation and follow-up discussions will pave the way to the development of a fruitful long-term scientific and educational cooperation between the MDC, HUB and partners from the IHT/TSNUK” says Oksana Seumenicht, from the Department of Strategic Cooperations and Research Funding at the MDC.
Text: Dr Oksana Seumenicht, Department of Strategic Cooperations and Research Funding