2018 – What an NGC Year!

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We, the NGC, have come a long way since we began our journey over three years ago. What started out as a bunch of PhD students who met to get to know each other and talk science while having a beer, pretty soon got organized, became a versatile monthly seminar series and by now has established itself as a networking platform for young career researchers from the JGU & UMC in the field of Neuroscience and Molecular Biology. If you would like to know more about how it all started, check our first blogpost NGC-the origins. I’m going to talk a little bit about where we are now and what we did this year.

First off, our seminar series was acknowledged by the Mainz Research School of Translational Biomedicine (TransMed) to the extent that we offer credit points to speakers as well as talk attendees. Even if not necessary as an incentive to attend the seminars, why not use the opportunity to collect some more points while enjoying science, giving valuable input, and preparing for your future?

In 2018 we had three of our renowned defense rehearsals with extensive feedback rounds, to help prepare our doctoral candidates for their big day in the best way possible. Sadhna and Georg have already successfully defended their thesis and earned their titles. Good luck to Kamran, who is going to defend in early 2019!

We heard a great career talk on Project Management by the Coordinator of the IMB International Summer School and PostDoc Programme Daniela Happel (née Scholten), got deep insights into Science Writing and Communication by science journalist Giorgia Guglielmi , and finally understood what the Management of a Core Facility entails according to Sandra Ritz, Head of the Microscopy Core Facility at IMB.

Casual science round table talks as well as manuscript preparation tips were also on the menu this year, but we didn’t stop at the table this time. If you are reading this, you have undeniably noticed that we also host this blog now, which we launched in March after quite some preparation. The idea was to extend our networking opportunity to an online platform, where everyone can contribute to the NGC-Network and voice their opinion, regardless of their location, time, and schedule. Here we host a wide range of science and PhD related topics and talk faces on campus. People are encouraged to experiment with maybe writing their first piece or contributing regularly with their topics of interest, share tips, recount conference experiences, and, of course, talk science. Next year, we would also like to add a nice little contest for great original microscopy pictures. The winning picture will be featured as the new NGC-Blog-Banner for 2019!

In September, it was time for the next Neurosocial event! Our Neuro-BBQ marked the end of summer and the beginning of a new semester on campus. We enjoyed some good food & drinks, met old friends, made lots of new acquaintances, and had heated conversations on science policy that lasted long into the night.

The organization of such events, the regular seminar series, and an online presence that needs to be fed regularly take effort. Along with the growing demands, our Organising Group has also grown over the course of this year. Isabelle (AG Stroh) joined us at the beginning of the year as a Blog Writer. Next, Mirjam (AG Behl), joined us to become our new Meetings’ Organizer and Deputy Manager. And finally, Heiko (AG Vogt) and Max (AG Behl) came along, wanting to contribute to IT and advertising.

The NGC Organising Group with the NGC Blog Writer, Isabelle Arnoux, after the team-building event.

We thought a team-building event for the Organising Group was in order and went off to the escape room in Mainz-Laubenheim where we did some good Sherlocking. We highly recommend it! Afterwards, we enjoyed some nice sushi and got creative to collect even more ideas on what we can add, improve and provide to make NGC seminars and events even more diverse, enjoyable and far-reaching. 2019 will tell, whether we had the right ideas. 😉

One idea that had been crystalizing for some time now, was to separate the very well received career talks from the regular seminars, in order to give both seminar aspects, “what we need and do now” as well as “what’s possible in the future”, their own space. Out came the new Career Talks Series in cooperation with the IPP, which was started off with a great talk from one of our own Alumni, Florie LePrieult, about postdoc position in industry. The CTS will take place every two months and feature a broad spectrum of career opportunities mostly outside of academia. More information will follow soon.

The 2018 Neuro-Christmas Party

So far so good, but what would be an NGC year without its Christmas event. Therefore, we closed the year with our well-received Neuro-Christmas Party which included pumpkin soup, lots of Glühwein, a sciency fun quiz and a long and funny round of “Cranium Dark” with those who stayed late.

Many thanks to all the speakers, attendees, blog contributors, organizers and helpers. You have made this NGC-Year possible, exciting and enjoyable! We wish you all a very merry Christmas, restful Holidays and a great start into the New Year. We hope to see you all in 2019. Cheers!


Written by Fazi Bekbulat; Edited by Chiara Galante. Pictures and Featured Image: NGC/Design.

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