Next Generation of Scientists Speaks of Collaboration

2020-10-12

Historically, many scientific disciplines were isolated, but pandemics like Covid-19 teach scientists to rethink. Medical doctors were barely connected to experimental researchers; lab diagnostics mainly provided services for other specialists but were not involved in the treatment of patients. In recent years, this dynamic has changed and will continue to do so; especially if we want to provide the best care for individual patients. Diagnostics is just one of the vital steps on the way to personalized medicine. Sharing knowledge with scientists from different fields is fast becoming indispensable.

This need to connect and collaborate is reflected in the training of young clinicians in graduate schools. In Switzerland, for example, a graduate school has been established as a joint initiative between two leading academic research centers, ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. At the Life Science Zurich Graduate School there are 18 doctoral programs available and students have access to an established interdisciplinary network. This helps to establish new relationships and collaborations to encourage transfer between research groups.

We spoke with six students from five different countries. They describe their passion for research, the need to collaborate with others, and the improvements required in communication and resources between disciplines in the future.

Text: Santina Russo
Photos: Raphael Zubler

Harini Subbaraman

Harini Subbaraman from India works in a group that is dedicated to developing a vaccine for HIV. She sees a huge difference in the availability of resources worldwide and hopes to build a bridge to share knowledge.

Simon Deycmar

Simon Deycmar from Austria specializes in proton radiotherapy and believes that no one is an expert in everything. He appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from all over Europe.

Undine Rulle

As a junior scientist, Undine Rulle enjoys being part of a collaboration between 16 clinical centers in Europe and the U.S. that aims to validate diagnostic stainings.

Cheng Guang

Cheng Guang Wu from China first studied pharmacology, then moved into stem cell regeneration in cancer research. His goal is to identify which type of immune cells could influence a patient’s survival.

Johanna Wagner

Johanna Wagner is working on single-cell technology and her goal is to empower precision medicine approaches by providing an atlas of cancer uniqueness to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with breast cancer.

Stephan Isringhausen

Stephan Isringhausen researches chronic virus infections and their influence on blood stem cells. He considers the networking opportunities at his graduate school indispensable for broadening scientists´ knowledge.