Your first six months

    Orientation

    During the first month, students have time to familiarize themselves with their new living and working environment and to complete all administrative issues regarding contract, visa, accommodation, city registration and University admission. The IMPRS Coordinator provides support in these activities. New students get to know their IMPRS classmates both formally by attending the annual IMPRS symposium, and informally at social events organized by the advanced students.

    Introductory course

    This three-week course in the second month introduces students to all faculty members and their scientific expertise, as well as the methods and infrastructure available within the school. Topics include:

    • Structural biology (NMR, crystallography)
    • Protein biochemistry (MS, expression, purification, protein interactions)
    • Biophysics
    • Molecular biology (DNA, RNA)
    • Cell biology
    • Genetics
    • Cell-cell interactions
    • Developmental biology
    • Evolution
    • Bioinformatics
    • Natural variation and ecology
    • High throughput methods and systems biology
    • Responsible conduct in research

    Generally, lectures covering both an overview of the field and ongoing research are held in the mornings, with the afternoons dedicated to theoretical aspects and practical demonstrations of specific techniques. The course also lets new students get to know each other and build a social network.  As a team-building challenge, the students are asked to organize a party for the students and faculty.

    Basic skills workshop: Working with images

    This 2 day workshop provides training in the effective use of software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to prepare high quality images for presentations and publications. Special care is taken to provide guidelines regarding the proper handling of digital image data including discussion of examples that illustrate pitfalls and inappropriate practices.

    Basic skills workshop: Scientific writing

    In order to provide students with the expertise to prepare a thesis proposal, a scientific writing workshop is taught in the middle of the first year. Over 5 mornings, students are guided to identify the main concepts of their research project, place them within the framework of general grant writing guidelines and to critically review and edit their work. Detailed individual feedback is provided by the tutor. This course provides a formal setting for basic training; the actual writing of the proposal is supervised by the thesis advisor.

    Basic skills workshop: Scientific presentation
    This 2 day workshop provides students with formal training for the presentations they will give during their first progress meeting and at the IMPRS symposium. The workshop covers planning a talk, slide design, use of the voice and avoiding hitches. Participants receive individual feedback on their own presentation.