Shaping the Future of Immunology in Europe

Rahul Birdar, a Doctoral Student in Lahesmaa Lab, wrote about his trip to yEFIS 1st Symposium (10-11 November 2022).

It was my great pleasure to attend European Federation of Immunological Societies young Immunologist Network’s (yEFIS) first-ever conference. Theme of the symposium held in Germany was Shaping the Future of Immunology in Europe.

The conference was focused on giving an opportunity to early career researchers to present their research work in front of a huge crowd through 15 minutes oral presentation, 3-minute flash talk and/or poster presentation.

It included four keynote lectures by early and late-career immunologists focusing on their research work and career path. Moreover, we had an enlightening panel discussion with six panellists who have a research PhD degree and diverse career path. This discussion helped me to gain some clarity of thought and confidence in myself for a path going forward as PhD researcher. We also had workshops on science communication, scientific publishing by the European Journal of Immunology and sponsor companies.

As part of the young Scandinavian Society for Immunology (ySSI), I and three of my ySSI task force colleagues got a poster booth to interact with the participants and other European young immunology societies about our activities in Nordic countries.

The best part of this intense symposium was the opportunity to present my research work a poster presentation and get feedback from my peers, just enough breaks to interact, and network with each other, make new connections/contacts and share laughter over coffee, food, and evening drinks.

This two-day conference was the inaugural meeting of Europe’s young immunologists. It took place at the beautiful campus of Max Delbruck Centre (MDC), in Berlin. Many thanks to the organizers of 1st yEFIS symposium for their hard work in putting together such a fantastic programme.

This was a perfect place for me to build a European network for young immunologists and future leaders of the field in Europe. I urge my fellow early career researchers to actively participate in similar conference as it is worth the travel time and a lot more to learn. I am grateful for TuDMM graduate school, University of Turku travel grant and my supervisor Prof. Riitta Lahesmaa for their support which made it possible for me to attend this fabulous conference of young immunologists.