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Organizing the ViBrANT2021 conference

As Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) we get the opportunity to attend lots of meetings and conferences. This gives us the chance to meet great scientists and develop our own ideas. While this is nice, what we rarely get is an insight into how such conferences are organized. As ViBrANT will organize a conference in summer next year, we as ESRs were quite excited to be heavily involved in the process of conference organization.

The organizing committee
In ViBrANT we are 15 ESRs. Three of us, Arno Thibau, Tugce Caykara and Ina Meuskens are part of the ViBrANT2021 conference organization committee.

The topic
ViBrANT stands for Viral and Bacterial Adhesin Network Training. Our conference will focus on viral and bacterial adhesion. In this context we will present work in basic research as well as diagnostics and applied research. Our conference will gather ESRs and experts in this field.

The date
ViBrANT2021 will take place on the 15th and 16th July 2021.

The speakers
After the first steps were made, the exciting part began: Inviting speakers. Pretty early on we knew that we wanted to involve all ViBrANT ESRs in this part. In order to decide on a balanced panel of speakers, we asked all the ESRs to send in speaker suggestions. It was important to us to cover all the topics that ViBrANT works with. By asking the ESRs, we were able to get a huge list of experts in the different fields we cover:

      • Microbiology
      • Structural Biology
      • Virology
      • Diagnostics
      • Bioinformatics


We then organized all the speakers into the above-mentioned topical groups and decided among the three ESRs in the organizing committee whom to invite. It was very nice to see that we mainly got positive answers. The speakers seemed excited about being invited by young scientists.

The table shows which speakers we could already win for our conference:


Field Name Specialty University
Microbiology Joachim Jose Assays using surface proteins Uni Muenster, Germany
Structural Biology Andrei Lupas Membrane proteins MPI Tuebingen, Germany
Wing Ying Chow Solid state NMR CEA Grenoble, France
Virology Ursula Neu Viral adhesion to Glycans FU Berlin, Germany
Diagnostics Martin Andersson Applied surface chemistry Charlmers, Sweden
Arben Merkoci Nanobiosensors ICN2, Spain


We made an active effort to have a gender-balanced panel of speakers. Currently we are still waiting for two speakers to get back to us.

The ESRs
As our ViBrANT2021 meeting is our final get together, we found it important to give some of the ESRs the chance to present their work as well. It was three years of blood, sweat and tears after all.

The schedule
Making a schedule for a two-days conference might sound easy but it is not at all. Getting the balance between giving all the speakers enough time to present and at the same time not having a stuffed program was quite a tricky thing to figure out.

Conference attendance
We plan to open our ViBrANT2021 meeting to the public. Unfortunately, we only have a limited number of spaces. We will inform soon about how to sign up for the meeting.

Future work
Currently, Arno is working on our meeting webpage and Tugce is finding sponsors. Organizing food and drinks as well as ordering goody-bags and printed programmes will follow at a later time point.

The experience:
So far, we enjoy organizing the ViBrANT conference. There is still a lot of things to do and we are looking forward to the challenge.

 We will keep you updated!

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