Fourth-year graduate student Josh Garlich attended the FinMIT International Summer School on Mitochondria and Organelle Communication held in Vääksy, Finland from June 1-8, 2013. The week-long course was organized by the FinMIT Centre of Excellence, a collaborative between the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki, Finland. The course featured an intensive lecture series given by several international research leaders on topics including; mitochondrial dynamics and turnover, peroxisome biogenesis, organelles and neurodegeneration, mitochondrial lipid metabolism and signalling, endosomes, lysosomes and autophagosomes, ER/mitochondria interactions, and intracellular transport. As part of the summer school, students worked throughout the week to prepare presentations on specialized topics within the theme of the summer course, and presented these topics at the end of the week.
The summer course was held in conjunction with the FinMIT Nordic Minisymposium on Mitochondria and Organelle Communication which took place on June 6th. Speakers from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark presented their work on a diverse array of topics related to organelle dynamics, crosstalk, and biogenesis. During the minisymposium, students from the summer course presented their own work at a poster session. Josh found this part of the summer course particularly valuable as he was able to speak with others in the field about his research, many of whom expressed interest and offered helpful suggestions regarding his project.
Another aspect of the course that Josh found to be incredibly beneficial was that the organizers, Howy Jacobs (University of Tampere, Finland) and Brendan Battersby (University of Helsinki, Finland), placed a high emphasis on instructing students how to actively listen and participate in a lecture. He learned from the lecturers and organizers, as well as his fellow students, the valuable skill of engaging each presenter and asking thought-provoking questions, and honed these skills throughout the week.
Josh’s overall impression of the summer course was that it was a highly valuable experience that facilitated professional connections with colleagues all over the world, and provided him with skills that he can apply to his pursuit of a doctoral degree and beyond.
Josh would like to acknowledge and express his gratitude to the Charles O’Hara Scholarship for providing financial support for him to attend the FinMIT International Summer School.