Life after Phd seminar - with Ralf Bortfeldt

After a short break the series LAP – Life after PhD is back. We are inviting different people who have done their PhD and moved on in various directions. Careers in industry, education, science and health etc. will be introduced and they will share their experiences and decisions for their career moves. On May 5th we have Ralf Bortfeldt, who works as a Bioinformatician and IT-Manager at IFN Schönow, as a guest in our webinar.

Date: May 5th
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Zoom
Speaker: Ralf Bortfeldt – IT manager

Password upon reasonable request (contact: compcancer at charite dot de). You will find regular updates at

Tutorial: Neural nets and uncertaintity

On Wednesday, April 22nd, two PhD students of CompCancer are giving a small tutorial on Neural Nets and Uncertaintity in Deep Learning.

Date: April 22nd
Time: 10 a.m.
Venue: Zoom
Speaker: Bettina Schmidt / Lorenz Rumberger

Uncertainty in deep learning (Lorenz Rumberger)

The tutorial gives an overview about methods for parameter and data related uncertainty quantification common in deep learning for regression and classification problems. After an introduction to the theoretical background, students will implement some of the discussed methods with tensorflow.

A short theoretical intro into neural nets (Bettina Schmidt)

Short derivation of mathematical formulation of simplest case of neural net (here: a classification) from logistic regression. Concept of activation function (relu) , loss / cost / objective function, backpropagation (problem of vanishing gradient), optizers (Adam), hyperparameteroptimization

New webinar: Cancer and Immunology

We are starting a new webinar series "Cancer and Immunology" for CompCancer PhD students. The series is part of  the qualification program and aims to introduce some biological background relevant for research questions within CompCancer.

Date: March 25th / April 2nd
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Venue: Zoom
Speaker: Markus Morkel


Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is driven by oncogenic mutations that deregulate signaling networks governing cell turnover in the colon epithelium. These two lectures give an overview of cell signal transduction, clinical features and cell heterogeneity in CRC.

Date: March 26th
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Venue: Zoom
Speaker: Philip Bischoff

Diagnostic standard procedures in the Institute of Pathology

In this session you will get to know the general workflow in diagnostic pathology, how samples are processed until the pathologist makes the diagnosis and how this affects the therapy of the patient. Taking colorectal cancer as an example, I will give a quick introduction to histology using standard H&E stainings and immunostainings.

LAP - Life after PhD seminar

The Ph.D. programs of the IRI for Life Sciences are joining forces and in March we are starting a new series: LAP – Life after Ph.D. We are inviting different people who have done their Ph.D. and moved on in various directions. Careers in industry, education, science, health, and more will be introduced and they will share their experiences and decisions for their career moves. We hope that you will get new ideas, get inspired and see that there are so many options open to you after you have finished your Ph.D.
You will find more information at

While COVID-19 takes control of our working life, we will hold the first webinar of our "LAP - Life after Ph.D." series with Joram Schwartzmann, Science Communicator, on Tuesday, 17 March at 4:30 p.m.

Science communication in the heart of Brussels

Report by Torsten Gross

A diverse group of young European researchers gathered in Brussels for the Standing up for Science workshop. We discussed the relationship between science and journalism, learned how scientific evidence supports the legislation of the European Commission, and explored our own possibilities for public outreach.

The value of science for society is evident for any researcher. But to promote it, the research community needs to actively engage in public debate. How this can be done was vividly discussed on March 6th in Brussels at the Standing up for Science EU workshop organized by the independent charity Sense about Science. Thanks to the support from the CompCancer PhD programme, I could join a group of about 30 European PhD students and PostDocs and participated in a series of panel discussions and team projects. Over the course of the day, we met science communicators, science journalists, and members of the European Commission.

We as scientists might hold a preconception that our work will eventually speak for itself. But Liesbeth Aerts, who is an active participant in the debate on animal testing, made clear that: ''if you don't speak up, no one else will''. Evolutionary geneticist Maarten Larmuseau agreed and added that public engagement can even feed back into your own research. After he started writing newspaper articles and blog posts, citizens approached him to have their DNA sequenced.

Yet academics and journalists need to bridge a cultural divide, as remarked by science writer Catherine Collins. For instance, a science news article or feature must immediately convey why the subject matter is important to the general audience. Nicholas Wallace made it clear: ''One of the top three sentences should be the 'why should I care?' sentence." Also, Pauline Bock explained that if you do not answer emails immediately, journalists will not be able to reach their deadlines and lose interest in you.

Particularly interesting insides story were then given by Jeremy Bray and Toby Wardman from the Scientific Advice Mechanism of the European Commission. They explained how the Commission brings together scientists from over 100 academies and societies across Europe so that policy decisions can be based on scientific evidence.

We continued the discussion in some of Brussels many pubs and restaurants until early in the morning. As we shared our stories and made new friends, I understood that in order to base future public debates on evidence, the scientific community needs to speak up.

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The research training group CompCancer (RTG2424) is a DFG funded PhD programme in Berlin, focussing on computational aspects of cancer research.

Contact: compcancer at charite dot de