17th EMBL PhD Symposium
Just by Chance?
Randomness & Variability Shaping Biology
22nd–24th October, 2015
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
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About the Symposium

The aim of this year's symposium is to explore the importance of randomness and variability in biology. To survive and thrive, living systems must robustly maintain their internal organization, yet remain flexible to respond and adapt to the challenges of a dynamic environment. The balance between these opposing requirements shapes biological systems across all scales, from molecules to ecosystems. We seek to bring together leading scientists that tackle this subject from different perspectives, enabling an exchange of ideas and inspiring young researchers to see biological systems from a new point of view.


Confirmed speakers:

Pau Bernado
Centre de Biochimie
Structurale de Montpellier,
Peter Fraser
Babraham Institute,
Thomas Gilbert
University of Copenhagen,
Irene Hames
Independent consultant,
Laura Landweber
Princeton University,
Ville Mustonen
Wellcome Trust
Sanger Institute,
Caren Norden
MPI of Molecular Cell
Biology and Genetics,

...and more to be announced.


The symposium will be held on three days, featuring many fascinating research talks as well as black-board discussions with the speakers, engaging workshops led by companies experienced in the life science field and plenty of opportunities to meet with your friends and colleagues over a coffee to discuss and share your thoughts.

Travel and Accommodation

How to get to Heidelberg

Heidelberg is easily reached by train, car or plane from any country in the world. The EMBL campus is located in Heidelberg's neighbourhood area of Boxberg which is approximately 10 minutes by car from Heidelberg's city centre.

Reaching us by train, plane, car

Travel Documents and Visas

Prior to travelling to Germany, some applicants from certain countries may have to acquire special travel documents, such as a visa. Applicants are strongly encouraged to check with the local German Authorities (Embassies or Consulates) about the need of special travelling documents. Since the process may be time consuming, applicants are advised to make such arrangements as soon as possible. Failure to obtain a visa after the deadline for participation in the conference will not result in a refund. Applicants are responsible for providing the right documentation needed for their entry into Germany. However, upon request, the Organizing Committee can issue a formal letter of acceptance to the symposium for the purposes of obtaining a visa. Please be aware that no visa letters will be issued before payment of the registration fee. The organizing committee can not be held responsible in the case of a refusal by German authorities to enter German territory.


The registration fees do not include accommodation and it has to be personally arranged. However, if you are happy to share a double room with a fellow participant, rooms have been pre-booked at the EMBL/ISG hotel near EMBL. Please contact us (not the hotel) if you would like to stay at the ISG hotel.
Please note that a shuttle bus will run between EMBL and the ISG Hotel during the conference.


Registration opens on January 28th, 2015.

A confirmation email will be sent to registrants once the registration is received. If you are interested in giving a talk or presenting a poster which you think fits nicely into the Symposium's general theme, please submit a short abstract (up to 2000 characters) describing your project.

Registration includes all meals and coffee breaks, as well as transportation to the venue from the ISG Hotel.

Early Bird Late Registration
Open until July 5th September 6th
Academia Fee €120 €150
Industry Fee €200 €200
Abstract submission deadline: August 21st


If you are part of the EMBL staff, you can register through the intranet here.

Any further questions?

For more details about abstract submission, oral presentations and poster sessions please refer to our FAQs page.

Abstract submission

Please note:

  • The 2,000-character limit refers to manually typed text (including spaces).
  • Please enter your co-authors correctly via the system by clicking the "add co-author" link. DO NOT copy-paste them into the body of the abstract text, as they will not be indexed in the abstract book.
  • Copy-paste text may include hidden formatting that exceeds the character limit. We recommend either:
    • saving as 'text only' in your editor or e-mail programme, OR
    • copy-pasting it into Notepad and then onto the website.
    • Some web browsers do not accept abstracts close to the 2,000-character count.
  • If you have special symbols in your text, please ensure you are using Unicode characters, otherwise these will not be recognised.


Sponsorship Information

The EMBL PhD symposium will provide an invaluable networking environment for your company to enhance the profile amongst the molecular biosciences research community, especially towards the young generation. The symposium will offer prime opportunities for your company to promote your new products, latest technology, and services. A sponsorship brochure featuring various sponsorship packages will be available here soon.


Also kindly supported by EMBL CPP's founder partners

Leica Olypus

Also kindly supported by EMBL CPP's corporate partners

Becton Dickinson GE Healthcare gsk illumina

Also kindly supported by EMBL CPP's associate partners

eppendorf life technologies Merck Serono Nikon Sanofi ThermoFisher


PhD Symposium 2015

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