Impressions from DKTK fellows who received support from DKTK School of Oncology

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Vanessa Arfelli gewinnt Travel Grant im Dezember 2023 für das ASH Meeting in San Diego

The SoO Travel Grant allowed me to attend for the first time to ASH meeting, the biggest conference in the Hematology field, which took part in San Diego, USA, in December 2023. Attending to this conference gave me another dimension of the importance of our research and a lot of insights for my projects. It was also a great opportunity to meet other researchers, get feedback and possibilities for collaborations.

Vanessa Arfelli, München





Mann vor Fluss mit Häusern im Hintergrunf
Florestan Koll, New York © Florestan Koll

The support from the DKTK School of Oncology and the MSNZ Frankfurt enables me to undertake a research stay in the laboratory of David Solit at MSKCC in New York. The conducted project extends my research efforts at the Department of Urology and the Institute of Pathology in Frankfurt, with the goal of understanding the heterogeneity of bladder cancer and identifying mechanisms of resistance to systemic therapies. My work is facilitated through complete integration into the scientific uropathological working group. The collaboration with the US fellows also allows for regular participation in Grand Rounds, urological lectures, and case discussions. Working alongside internationally renowned experts in the field of cancer research leads to both scientific and professional enrichment. The exchange is inspiring in diverse ways, and the environment provides new ideas and insights. The opportunity to temporarily reside in New York City permits experiencing the vibrant, open, and international metropolis.

Florestan Koll, Frankfurt

European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) congress © Sona Michlikova

In May 2023, I attended the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) congress in Vienna. ESTRO congress is the largest radio-oncology event in Europe, bringing together experts from both clinical and experimental science. As an experimental radiobiologist, attending excellent lectures from high-profile clinical scientists helped me put my own research into the context of real, present-day clinical application. Together with encouraging feedback on my own presentation, this gave me fresh enthusiasm and motivation for my upcoming scientific career. Furthermore, such a global event provided an excellent space for networking and establishing new contacts for potential future collaborations. I am grateful to the DKTK School of Oncology for generously sponsoring this trip.

Sona Michlikova, Dresden



Essak Khan
DZG Science & Career Day 2023 © Essak Khan

I had the pleasure of attending the DZG Science & Career Day 2023 - Translational Health Research in Berlin, and it was a memorable experience. It was fascinating to meet scientists from all eight disciplines of translational research in Germany and engage in meaningful discussions. I particularly enjoyed the workshop sessions and talks on networking, establishing intrapreneurship in academia, and gaining insights from the ministry's perspective on promoting young scientists in translational research. Additionally, it was intriguing to explore the overarching principles and methodologies used in other disciplines' research, which could be applied to cancer translational research. I thank DKTK for their generous support, as it made this trip possible for me.
Essak Khan, Mainz


Susanne Flach
7th World Congress of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS) © Susanne Flach

I have been able to attend the 7th World Congress of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS) in Rome, Italy, and present my research in an oral presentation in the Basic Research Selected Free Papers Session to a global audience. My congress attendance was supported by the DKTK Travel Grant. The meeting included Keynote and dedicated lectures by renowned experts in the field of Head and Neck Oncology, panels, symposia and round table debates on surgical, medical oncology and radiation oncology topics as well as translational research aspects such as liquid biopsy. It offered a great opportunity to learn in a multidisciplinary setting about new developments for improvement of diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of patients with head and neck cancer.

Susanne Flach, München




Laura Grunewald
Laura Grunewald, Berlin © Laura Grunewald

After 4 years waiting time, we were finally able to participate in person at the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Meeting in Amsterdam. It was a very great opportunity to get the newest, unpublished data on Neuroblastoma research. I was able to directly interact and network with researchers from all over the world to discuss my project and the pitfalls. It was also great to see, that more interesting research ideas on immunotherapy in Neuroblastoma have been topic at the conference. It was a long conference with 4 full days of talks, discussions and networking, but afterwards, I felt motivated to tackle the pitfalls in my own projects with fresh ideas.

Laura Grunewald, Berlin



Susanne Flach, Munich © Susanne Flach

During my 9 weeks stay in August/September 2022 at the University of Manchester, U.K., which was supported by the DKTK Research Rotation Grant, I was able to initiate a collaborative research project with Prof. Wedge’s group on studying clonal evolution in head and neck cancers using computational models. The aim of this collaborative project is to dissect the epithelial, immune, and stromal cellular ecosystem of normal mucosa as well as low- and high-grade dysplastic and malignant lesions in the upper aerodigestive tract that have been collected multi-regionally and to link them to their respective genomic and transcriptomic          profiles using cross-omics integration. This will hopefully help us to better understand which    individuals with premalignancies will progress and develop clinically significant cancers within  their lifetimes as well as identifying ways to intercept the disease in future. December 2022

                                                        Susanne Flach, Munich

Florestan Koll, Frankfurt/Mainz ( © Florestan Koll)

I presented a poster about my parts of my current bladder cancer research at the International Bladder Cancer Network meeting in Barcelona. With about 150 participants it is a rather small conference that allowed me to directly talk to the international experts involved in improving diagnostics and exploring novel therapeutic approached for bladder cancer. I was able to exchange research results and ideas, get new input and further advance my planned collaborative project in the United States. The meeting location was fabulous in the old Hospital de Sant Pau leading to a wonderful atmosphere in Barcelona. I thank the DKTK School of Oncology for supporting me with a travel grant. October 2022

Florestan Koll, Frankfurt/Mainz

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Luca Hegedus, Essen (© Luca Hegedus)

The participation on the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) 2022 meeting in Vienna was a great experience for me. The plenary and educational sessions provided a complete overview of the current therapeutic options and latest research findings on lung cancer in different stages. Special sessions and discussion groups were devoted to rare thoracic malignancies including mesotheliomas that I have a special interest for. Sessions about lung cancer epidemiology or lectures of patient advocacy groups helped to further broaden my view on this disease. During the lunch breaks and the poster sessions there were plenty of opportunities for scientific exchange. There was a great interest in our findings and I received valuable feedback. I would like to thank the DKTK for supporting my participation in this                                                         conference with this travel grant. August 2022

                                                        Luca Hegedus, Essen

Maximilian Deng and PD Dr. med. Laila König, Heidelberg (© Maximilian Deng)

I feel blessed to have the unique opportunity of presenting my research at the Annual Meeting of the German Society of Radiation Oncology 2022 in Stuttgart. I have presented and discussed my latest findings on molecularly-guided precision radiotherapy in patients with meningioma as an oral presentation, and further on pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma as poster presentation. The scientific exchange with my colleagues have inspired and motivated me to further promote the translation from molecular brain tumor classification to clinical patient care in radiooncology. I am grateful for the support by the DKTK School of Oncology and the Physician-Scientist program of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg, and further for the support of my mentors Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Debus and PD Dr. Laila König. Mai 2022

Maximilian Deng, Heidelberg



Thomas Walle, Heidelberg (@Thomas Walle)

Support from the DKTK School of Oncology enabled me to present our work on radiotherapy-induced Natural Killer cell responses to an international audience at the AACR Annual Meeting 2022. Our presentation received much attention and positive feedback from leaders in the fields of radiotherapy and Natural Killer cell based immunotherapies. I am convinced that this helped promote both our research as well as the DKTK internationally and we hope to collaborate with our new contacts in the future. April 2022

Thomas Walle, Heidelberg


Thomas Walle, Heidelberg (@ Thomas Walle)

The DKTK Research Rotation Grant has enabled me to develop data analysis pipelines for our high dimensional clinical immunomonitoring platform at NCT Heidelberg. This collaboration with our partners at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, U.S.A will also help us to translate our understanding of cancer immunotherapies into benefit for patients in future projects. April 2020

Thomas Walle, Heidelberg


Anne Zaremba, Essen (left), Noemi Bender, Heidelberg (center) and Nadja Salomon, Mainz (right) (@Noemi Bender)

In the NaWik seminar „Science Communication“ in Karlsruhe, I learned that a good presentation is tailored to its audience. It conveys why the topic is interesting for the listeners – be it fellow scientists or school children. March 2020

Noemi Bender, Heidelberg





Sebastian Vosberg

The research rotation at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City in February/March 2020 enabled the initiation of a collaborative research project based on resources from both institutes. I had the chance to meet with experts in the fields of cancer epigenetics as well as metabolomics and got fully integrated in the research group. After cancelling my stay prematurely due to the Covid-19 spread, we continued the collaborative work via Skype calls and Zoom meetings and I hope to return to the lab in New York continuing my stay eventually.

Sebastian Vosberg, Munich


Tamara Werner

Due to the corona crisis, the 2020 edition of the BioBusiness Summer School was the first online edition of this course. The organizers and speakers adopted absolutely great to this situation to give the participants the best experience during this amazing week. It was a great opportunity to hear lectures about important aspects in the life science business like intellectual property rights, business development, regulatory affairs and finance models. The program was completed by helpful information about career options in life science industry as well as advice for career planning and job applications. I would highly recommend this Summer School to PhD students and Postdocs, especially those contemplating about a career                                                          switch from academia to industry.

                                                         Tamara Werner, Freiburg


Bruno Cadilha

The seminar series „Translating Science into Clinical Practice“ was well structured and lectured by a very dynamic panel of experts. It was a fantastic opportunity to be primed in this topic. The concepts learned and the introduction to a network of experts in the field encouraged me to pursue the translation of my science into clinical practice.

Bruno Cadilha, Munich


Johannes Hildebrand

The workshop Translating Science into Clinical Practice gave me valuable practical advices on the long path from having a good business idea to the actual product. For my further career I am more aware of the process it takes to bring science on the market and I have obtained many tools one needs to know to start a business in the translational field. Thanks for the good organization and the great real-life examples from the speakers.

Johannes Hildebrand, Munich


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Daria Klusa

Thanks to DKTK School of Oncology Travel Grant I attended ESTRO 2021 conference - the biggest multidisciplinary event combining the biological and clinical knowledge from the field of radiotherapy. Within my PhD thesis, I am focused on the application of circulating tumor cells exhibiting stemness and radioresistant properties as a biomarker for metastatic prostate cancer patients' prognosis undergoing radiotherapy. As a biologist, it is often a challenge to understand the true clinical need. Therefore I found particularly valuable clinical sessions which this year strongly stressed a phenomenon of oligometastatic patients undergoing metastases-directed radiotherapy. Upon joining multiple clinical and biological talks, as well as poster sessions, I realized how underinvestigated are currently ongoing studies involving liquid biopsies in combination with radiotherapy which brought a fresh motivation into the project I                                  am currently involved in. Moreover, onsite attendance was a great opportunity to improve                                                networking skills in the multidisciplinary environment while exchanging experience with other                                                          young scientists.

 Daria Klusa, Dresden