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With us through the "Long Night“

Stu­dents of the elite Inte­grated Im­munology pro­gram at the Uni­versi­ty of Er­langen-Nu­rem­berg are annu­ally en­gaged in in­form­ing and edu­cating the gen­eral public about the im­mune sys­tem, vac­cina­tion, auto­im­mune dis­eases and aller­gy. After two years of pan­dem­ics, they are now final­ly able to share their fasci­nation for the im­mune sys­tem at the Long Night of the Sci­ences.

Enthusiasm spreads

Already in Feb­ruary, the col­lec­tion of ideas was com­plete, so excit­ed were the stu­dents to final­ly be able to crea­tively and play­fully en­gage the public in their field of inter­est again.
Espe­cially dur­ing the pan­demic peri­od, they were flooded with ques­tions about vac­cina­tion and im­mune re­sponse in their fami­lies, and so they all knew pretty quickly which topics were burn­ing under the nails of the pub­lic.

After an ex­haust­ing prep­ara­tion, our Long Night start­ed al­ready in the late after­noon in front of the insti­tute with lov­ingly de­signed game sta­tions for the chil­dren. The vac­cina­tion prin­ciple was ex­plained by throwing cans at bacte­ria and virus­es, and the im­mune de­fense was ex­plained by mak­ing virus­es and anti­bod­ies at a craft sta­tion.
Young and old alike en­joyed mi­croscoping path­ogens or iso­lating the genet­ic mate­rial of the cell, deox­yri­bonu­cleic acid from strawber­ries, and taking it home with them. Stu­dents of the Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram "Integrated Immunology"were ready to ex­plain or dis­cuss cur­rent topics such as im­mune re­sponse, vac­cina­tion, aller­gy, SARS-CoV2, au­to­im­mune dis­eases and trans­plan­tation at in­for­mation post­ers and an in­for­mation booth with BzGA in­for­mation bro­chures rounded up the in­for­mation of­fer and was very well re­ceived.

The lecture series was very challenging

In addi­tion to post­ers and hands-on sta­tions, visi­tors were also able to enjoy a se­ries of lec­tures on vari­ous topics relat­ed to the im­mune sys­tem. The spe­cial fea­ture was that the stu­dents them­selves se­lected the top­ics, filled the lec­tures with con­tent and pre­sent­ed and dis­cuss­ed them in the even­ing in front of a large audi­ence in the lec­ture hall. In addi­tion to topics such as the histo­ry of vac­cina­tion and pan­dem­ics, cur­rent ap­proaches to im­mu­no­thera­pies and the influ­ence of cli­mate change on the im­mune sys­tem were ex­plained and the audi­tori­um was en­couraged to think along

At the end of each lec­ture there was an inter­active knowledge game with the audi­ence, as the stu­dents al­ready knew from their lec­tures, and enough room for dis­cussion.
The topic of "Al­ler­gies and Auto­im­mune Dis­eases" was of par­ticu­lar inter­est this even­ing. The really well-filled lec­ture hall re­sulted in the stage fright of the two lec­turers reach­ing its peak. The sub­se­quent dis­cussion about the topic showed how well the two speakers had taken the audi­ence with them and ani­mated them to think.

After a very suc­cess­ful even­ing, eve­ryone re­turned home tired but happy around 1:00 a.m., con­clud­ing that it is al­ways some­thing very spe­cial to ex­plain their own area of spe­ciali­zation and inter­est to the public and to share this fasci­na­tion.


Text: Dr. Anja Glanz, Elite Graduate Program "Integrated immunology"