IMPRS Retreat 2024

On May 2nd ad 3rd our joint retreat of IMPRS Physics of Light and IMPRS Physics and Medicine took place at the RiesenGebirge Hotel in Neuhof an der Zenn.

Lightning talks took place on the first day, in which the Master's and PhD students introduced themselves. There were also interesting and personal insights into the academic careers of two of our PIs, Prof. Kristian Franze (FAU, MPZPM) and Dr. Jona Kayser (MPL). The evening ended with a joint barbecue and exciting discussions amongst the students and PIs.

Our second day started with a refreshing hike through the surrounding countryside, we then had an inspiring keynote lecture on the topic of "Science Communication" with Dr. Alexander Schiller, a trainer, coach, speaker and facilitator.

We are already looking forward to next years retreat!

Open Day - FAU meets IMPRS

The 2nd Open Day "FAU meets IMPRS" took place at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

Interested Bachelor and Master students from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universtität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) were informed about our two International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) Physics of Light and IMPRS Physics and Medicine. Our IMPRS students offered various lab tours in the respective research areas and a poster session took place.

We are already looking forward to next years "FAU meets IMPRS" event!


On February 15th, we offered another set of OOF (out-of-your-field) lectures at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

Prof. Beate Winner (University Hospital Erlangen) gave an introduction into the biology of stem cells whereas Prof. Dr. Tomohisa Toda (Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) presented the diversity of the immune system.

Both lectures were meant to provide basic biological and medical insight to IMPRS-PM physics students. But also interested students and researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, the IMPRS Physics of Light and the Friedrich Alexander University were invited to attend the talks.

Another ERC grant for brain research goes to Professor Tomohisa Toda in Erlangen

Tomohisa Toda, Professor of Neural Epigenomics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has been awarded another European Research Council (ERC) grant to investigate the roles of long-lived nuclear RNA in the maintenance of brain function and brain ageing. Most of his research will take place in the laboratories of the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (MPZPM), a cooperative project of FAU, the University Hospital Erlangen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, with which the neuroscientist is affiliated.

Strengthening ties

The 14th annual meeting of our IMPRS Physics of Light (IMPRS-PL) simultaneously became the 1st annual meeting of our IMPRS Physics of Medicine (IMPRS-PM). The conference for both graduate programs took place on October 18th and was designed to deepen collaborations not only between IMPRS-PL and IMPRS-PM but also between all the partner institutions involved, namely the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the University Hospital Erlangen (UKER) and the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (MPZPM).

To welcome our recently admitted IMPRS students, the event started with introductory talks and socializing games. New student representatives were elected, having Maximilian Nägele (MPL) and Johannes Wesseler (FAU) substituting Anchit Srivastava and Santiago López Huidobro in IMPRS-PL and Daria Belous (FAU & MPZPM) and Klara Metzner (UKER) taking over the positions from Maximilian Eiche and Benedikt Hartmann in IMPRS-PM.

The afternoon slots were dedicated to reports from both IMPRS steering committees and introductory talks by Principal Investigators that had been included in the graduate schools only recently. Birgit Stiller (IMPRS-PL PI) told us about her research in quantum optoacoustics, whereas Frederik Graw and Tomohisa Toda (both IMPRS-PM PIs) spoke of diverse immune processes and neural epigenomics.

The evening was spent in the foyer of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light for a joint poster session. Food and drinks supported the enthusiastic and elaborate scientific exchange that accumulated in the award of two best poster prizes. IMPRS-PL chair Florian Marquardt and IMPRS-PM chair Vahid Sandoghdar handed them out to the winners Julia Kolb and Maximilian Eiche. Congratulations!

OOF-event at MPL

On July 20th and 27th we had our first OOF-lectures at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL).

The “out-of-your-field” lectures were given by IMPRS-PM PIs who provided an insight into topics from both the physics and the biological & medical scope.

Prof Vahid Sandoghdar (MPL Director and IMPRS-PM spokesperson) and Prof Vasily Zaburdaev (FAU Professor and IMPRS-PM spokesperson) introduced the PhD students who usually work in biological projects into topics from physics and mathematics. Prof Alexandra Schambony (FAU Professor) and Dr Markus Eckstein (University Hospital Erlangen) created their introductory lectures into biological and medical topics specifically for PhD students from physics to provide them with background knowledge of biological processes.

The theoretical OOF-lectures support the natural scientists and clinicians to jointly tackle challenges at the interface of physics, biology and medicine, e.g., by studying and understanding physical interactions that govern many of the complex biological processes, which may lead to health hazards if they deviate from their norm.

IMPRS Retreat

In 2023, the retreat was organized for June 19th and 20th at the hotel “Festung Rosenberg” in Kronach. To establish ties between IMPRS-PL and IMPRS-PM and encourage collaboration between all students, the decision was taken to have a joint retreat of both research schools.

Its program included invited talks by IMPRS-PL PI Hanieh Fattahi, who told the students about her personal scientific career and our external guest Colin Sheppard who gave a lecture about Microscope Imaging. Lightning talks were given by all PhD students to convey insight into the variety of research projects. To foster additional skills, an external workshop about cultural diversity provided the students with relevant competences for their diverse daily routines in an international working atmosphere.

The organized excursion around Kronach succeeded in producing social interaction as well as scientific exchange between all participating IMPRS members.

1st MPL Open Day

On May 2nd we had our first MPL Open Day at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. We invited interested Bachelor and Master students studying Physics, Advanced Optical Technologies, Integrated Life Sciences, Medical Engineering and Molecular Medicine at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg.

With this event we wanted to give local students the opportunity to get to know our institute and our graduate programs IMPRS-PL and IMPRS-PM. Students from both IMPRS gave a poster session and lab tours. This led to a lot of fruitful discussion and interaction amongst MPL and FAU students.

We are already looking forward to next year's MPL Open Day!

1st scientific and social gathering

July 28th, 2022

On Thursday July 28th, 2022 we had our first scientific and social gathering of IMPRS-PM. An interdisclipinary poster session enabled the students to get to know each other and delve into discussions with each other and with the participating supervisors.

We also had an interesting walk to the construction site of MPZPM. The Max Planck Zentrum für Physik und Medizin had its topping-out ceremony that very same day. It is planned to move IMPRS-PM into that new building in 2024. Until then, the international research school is hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

MPL Research Centers and Schools