21 Sep 2022

How was ESI SyNC 2022?

The ESI Systems Neuroscience Conference, ESI SyNC, is the highlight of the academic year. For two days at the beginning of September, everything revolved around discussing and gathering ideas. What was it that impressed the participants the most? A survey.

The Ernst Strüngmann Institute Systems Neuroscience Conference (ESI SyNC) 2022 could finally take place on site again. On September 8 and 9, nearly 100 on-site participants approached the topic of The ever changing brain: through development and evolution. Eleven speakers presented their research on the development, organization, and evolution of the brain - from anatomy to function, from microcircuitry to whole-brain networks, from the origins of cognition in single-celled organisms to complex social behavior in primates.

Young researchers had the opportunity to share ideas and ask questions in formal and informal discussions. Here, they tell us what they will remember most about the event:

Leila Zacharias:

“The conference was very well organized, and there was a good atmosphere among the guests. I am a psychology student, so I was lacking prior knowledge for many of the talks, but the parts touching on psychology were good. I learned about new perspectives and different approaches to issues that I am also interested in. Most exciting for me was Onur Güntürkün’s lecture - a lot of content I could relate to. Moreover, he is a nice person and an experienced speaker who is a pleasure to listen to.”

Tae Ho Lim:

„I was looking forward to Daniel Takahashi because I read all his papers. And I enjoyed to hear him talk. I was very positively surprised by Ileana Hanganu-Opatz. I really liked and didn’t expect a talk on critical periods of cognitive maturation, as it gave a developmental insight into my previous dissertation topic, namely circuit abnormalities in schizophrenia. How she talked about it felt like she completed my understanding.“

Eva Petersen:

“The talks were all different and yet all very well suited to the conference title. My personal favorite was Rogier Mars. His presentation was excellent. I always find it very interesting to see what drives people to do research, even more so when they succeed in communicating it to their audience – as did Rogier Mars.“

Alex Bird:

„The talks fitted the theme very vell. I found Suzana Herculano-Houzel’s lecture especially interesting and Onur Güntürkün’s. I heard he was a good speaker and he lived up to his reputation. It was the first in-person conference in a while and I enjoyed that the old feeling is back and the nice atmosphere among the participants.“

Berkutay Mert:

„This is my second time at ESI SyNC. Last year’s conference was so interesting and stimulating – you can’t miss it. During these two days, I enjoyed being part of the academic community and getting insights into the work of many different labs, their techniques, their claims, and scientific diverse arguments. All this makes you see clearly how science evolves. My personal highlight was Pamela Lyon. Her claims are very controversial and showed a perspective I’ve never heard before. Very out of the box, very bold – I liked it.“

Marika Mearelli und Caterina Ciani:

“We could follow each talk well because none required deep detailed knowledge. We particularly liked the order of the talks: the first one, by Georg Striedter, was rather general, almost like a journal club. After that, it became more and more specific, which allowed all participants to dive deeper and deeper into the conference topic. We also liked the setting: nice people, not too crowded, and thus the opportunity not only to make new contacts but to have deeper conversations, too.”

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