Thanks to the EAN research fellowship, I have worked for one year in the lab of Prof. Edgar Meinl in Ludwig-Maximillian University Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology in Munich. It was an invaluable experience for me both academically and socially.
In my home country, Turkey, I am working in a prominent reference center for patients with various neuroimmunological disorders in Hacettepe University, Ankara. We accept patients from all over the country, which provide us with numerous rare and problematic cases together with an opportunity to make high-impact research. However we need to increase our know-how on basic lab techniques and make collaborations to translate these cases into beneficial research projects. The lab of Prof. Dr. Edgar Meinl in the Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology is an excellent lab that performs such translational research projects.
The research group of Dr. Meinl is one of the several groups in the Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology. Each research group is working on different aspects of neuroimmunological disorders to unravel their mysteries. Whole institute is located in a larger complex named Biomedical Centrum. Such an organization makes it possible for tens of labs with diverse specialties to be able to work together in the same campus. The physical conditions of the facility is very impressive. The Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology has various working groups that specialized on both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Both in our working group and in others, people are very kind, helpful and friendly and my mentor Edgar, is a wonderful person to work with. There are regular lab and institute meetings that bring a large number of basic and clinical researchers together and provide a nice niche for discussion. Thanks to them, I have learned a lot of novel skills and knowledge to bring home and also had friendships that will last hopefully a lifetime. We are also in the process of preparing articles that will potentially be published in high-quality journals.
Munich is a very organized and prosperous city. One can spend his spare time happily in numerous parks, near the river Isar, Beergardens or museums. Almost every two months, there is a major feestival that is celebrated with enthusiasm throughout the city. The nature is generous in Bayern, so it is also possible to visit the numerous lakes and mountains near the city. The hardest thing is to find a flat and the rents are high, but the money provided by EAN is enough for one person to live in Munich.
Clinician-scientists play a key role in both advancement of medicine and in the education of scientific-minded medical students. I highly encourage my colleagues to apply to both local and international fellowship programs like the EAN’s to increase their scientific knowledge and for networking.
I am grateful to EAN for this opportunity and I hope that the number of fellowships will be increased so that more people can benefit.
Dr. Atay Vural works at the Clinical Neuroimmunology Unit, Hacettepe University Hospital, Department of Neurology in Ankara, Turkey