For the first time in Biology conferences, we are organizing a ‘networking hour’ during which participants are encouraged to network with other attendees. Participants are free to decide what to do during this hour, activities can range from having an extended lunch, pre-organising a meeting with other attendees, attending a guided tour of the exhibition “Biodiversity: vulnerable richness” or taking part in one of the three organized networking hour topics.
Topic 1: How to succeed in academia without losing your soul
room HG E7 (no registration needed)
Moderator: Bree Rosenblum (University of California Berkeley, USA)
A career in science can be deeply fulfilling, but it also carries a risk of stress, burn-out, and isolation. It is important that we integrate our desire for success at work with our commitment to finding meaning and joy in our lives. This interactive workshop will focus on ways of cultivating more balance in our professional lives. Bree will offer a “greatest hits” of strategies for navigating a career in academia on topics such as: staying grounded during difficult times, knowing what you want, nurturing intrinsic motivation, combating decision fatigue, saying no, addressing guilt, and supporting broader cultural change in science. This workshop is geared toward early career scientists (e.g., students and postdocs), but all are welcome.
Topic 2: A new era of reference genomes for biodiversity genomics
room HG E3 (no registration needed)
Robert Waterhouse (ERGA chair, BGE Executive Board, SIB - Environmental Bioinformatic group Director, Switzerland)
Christian de Guttry (BGE-ERGA Scientific Project manager, SIB - Environmental Bioinformatics group, Switzerland)
Kay Lucek (ERGA council member, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Alexandra Anh-Thu Weber (ERGA council member, Eawag, Switzerland)
Chiara Bortoluzzi (ERGA Dissemination Officer, ETHZ, Switzerland)
Reference genomes are increasingly used to answer various questions related to biodiversity genomics. The European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA) is an inclusive Pan-European initiative that aims to generate high-quality reference genomes for all eukaryotic species of the continent and provides a platform for exchange of knowledge and resources among researchers working on biodiversity genomics. ERGA is also the European node of the Earth Biogenome Project.
ERGA-CH represents the community of ERGA members in Switzerland. The ERGA networking hour aims to bring the ERGA-CH community but also interested people together and learn about the network’s objectives. First, the current ERGA chair Rob will shortly introduce ERGA and its vision for the future. Participants will then be split in small groups to identify the current needs of Swiss-based researchers in terms of genomic tools and infrastructure, as well as potential challenges and solutions. This networking hour is open to anyone with interests in reference genomes and biodiversity genomics, regardless if they are members of ERGA-CH. We will also provide information on how to join ERGA-CH, which is possible for all career stages.
Topic 3: A new age of biodiversity monitoring
room HG E5 (no registration needed)
Robert McElderry (ETHZ, Switzerland)
Anish Kirtane (ETHZ, Switzerland)
Kristy Deiner (ETHZ, Switzerland)
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KM GBF) has gained widespread commitment from governments, businesses, corporations, and financial institutions, emerging as a pivotal initiative alongside climate change. This framework establishes targets to mitigate biodiversity threats, enhance sustainability, and implement effective policies. A global standard for biodiversity assessment is essential for measuring progress and understanding the overall state of nature.
The scientific challenge is addressing the fundamental question of where biodiversity is and how it responds to anthropogenic pressures. The complexity lies in choosing measurement methods, determining inclusivity, and ensuring measurement tool accuracy. The key consideration is finding a simple yet robust measure to represent Earth's intricate life complexity without oversimplification, shaping the future of biodiversity monitoring.
To bridge the gap between scientific inquiry and practical application, we propose a novel approach for our upcoming networking event. Starting with a DNA sequence-based ice breaker, attendees will then participate in a visual mapping exercise based on the KM GBF. Using red stickers for current focuses and green stickers for future aspirations, this interactive method aims to facilitate focused discussions, helping attendees identify researchers working on specific topics. The exercise may reveal areas of saturation and highlight targets requiring further exploration, fostering meaningful connections and discussions throughout the conference.
Date and time:
Thursday 18th of January, 12:30-13:25
Location and programme:
Guided tour of the exhibition “Biodiversity: vulnerable richness”
Guides: Michael Greeff and Alessia Guggisberg (ETHZ, Switzerland)
Biodiversity is colorful. It is fragrant and melodious and takes on myriad forms. For centuries, researchers have examined this splendid variety on multiple levels, from species and ecosystems right down to individual genes. The exhibition "Biodiversity: vulnerable richness" showcases a wide variety of insects and plants from collections held by ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. Some of its specimens are truly spectacular. The exhibits reveal countless fascinating, previously untold stories. Many focus on the severe destruction that is being wrought upon biodiversity and the steps we can take to protect and promote this rapidly disappearing treasure.
There will be two groups, with a maximum of 20 people per group. To sign up please add your name on the following google form (first come first serve basis).
Group 1: meeting at 12:25 at the registration desk
Group 2: meeting at 12:55 at the registration desk