Words from the director

Dear colleagues,

A few weeks ago, the SNI community came together for its annual academic exchange in Lenzerheide. It was wonderful to see how project leaders, professors and our two honorary members Christoph Gerber and Andreas Engel interacted with junior researchers from the SNI’s PhD School, and how lively the discussions were during the poster session and the breaks. With over 90 participants, this year’s meeting broke our attendance record. For the first time, the event was also attended by a cohort of graduates of the PhD school, who recently completed their doctorates and are preparing to embark on professional life. The institute now offers graduates of the PhD School an Associate Membership, which enables them to remain a part of the SNI network and carry on attending events such as the Annual Meeting for another four years.

In late summer, the SNI board of directors approved seven exciting new projects for our PhD School. We are now awaiting applications for the various projects from motivated young researchers. Please spread the word among colleagues so that we can once again look forward to an outstanding pool of candidates to choose from at the end of the year.

In this issue of SNI update, we introduce the new head of the SNI’s PhD School, Dr. Andreas Baumgartner. A key feature of his plans for the School’s future is a focus on interdisciplinarity. This does not mean that each individual project must be rooted in different disciplines; rather, Andreas Baumgartner’s aim is to ensure diversity among projects, and to stimulate interest in activities beyond each researcher’s field of study.

This issue also includes a report on a successful project by a nanoscience master’s student that led to a publication in “Nature Communications”. For his first project, Julius Winter worked in Professor Marek Basler’s laboratory at the Biozentrum, researching the structure of a nano speargun used by bacteria to inject toxins into other cells.

I hope you enjoy our newsletter – and please remember to submit your best photos of the nanoworld for this year’s Nano Image Award.

Kind regards,

Christian Schönenberger
SNI Director