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Dr. Nadia Füllbrunn

IRTG Office

University of Osnabrück

Barbarastr. 11

49076 Osnabrück

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+49 (0) 541 969 2285

© IRTG 2023


The annual IRTG Retreats are intended to create a scientifically stimulating atmosphere and foster the spirit of developing togetherness. Besides PhD students and PIs of the SFB 1557, also external invited speakers participate and build the base for an inspiring IRTG community. The scientific program is specified by PhD students, who present their projects in the form of progress reports or during poster sessions as well as external invited speakers who will frame the Retreats by giving keynote lectures on selected topics. These events are further completed by get-togethers and social activities like excursions or a pub quiz in the evening, organized together with the student representatives.

In 2020, we initially planned to have our annually IRTG Retreat at the north sea island Borkum from October, 28th to October, 31st, 2020. Due to the Corona Pandemic, we had to postpone this event to the next year.

As little compensation, the IRTG office and the student representatives organized a Methods-PhD-Retreat where PhDs of the IRTG/SFB/Biology Department presented some of their basic but also quite fancy methods, techniques and approaches. This event was meant to provide a platform where PhD students could discuss their methods, find counterparts for methods they are interested in to try out and to get an overview about techniques/infrastructure that is available at our institute.

In March 2021, the Methods-PhD-Retreat took place with eleven talks distributed over three days (virtual event).


PhD students are duscussing their scientific work during a Poster session at an IRTG Retreat

The scientific program was composed of keynote talks given by the invited speakers, progress reports of the IRTG/SFB 944 PhD students, Flash Poster presentations, and two poster sessions. Furthermore, we had several ‘Meet the speaker’ events to allow the PhD students to get in contact with the invited speaker. This format was highly appreciated and used to discuss scientific as well as career-related aspects.

To give the participants the possibility to relax between the sessions, to get in contact with each other, and to see a little bit of Borkum, there was also some time scheduled for social activities. Besides a hiking tour to seals who are living around Borkum, and some free time to explore the island, we also had a pub quiz on Thursday evening.


Prof. Dr. Dagmar Wachten (Institute of Innate Immunity, University of Bonn) during her keynote talk

PhD student Tolulope Sokoya (University of Osnabrück) is presenting his progress report

During two poster sessions, the PhD students had the opportunity to present their projects and to discuss their results, and open questions with other participants of the Retreat

After a long and exciting conference program, the participants could end the day in a relaxed atmosphere in form of a Get-together at the Hotel bar

As part of the conference program, a guided hiking tour to seals gave some space for a reset and informal discussions among the participants

Bird and seal watching is even more fun with professional equipment

The complete program can be downloaded following this link:




The complete program can be downloaded following this link:



In total 26 PhD students of the IRTG/SFB 1557 joined the Retreat. We were glad to host also 7 PhD students/PIs of the SFB 1557 for the methods short talks and three persons in charge from the department 7 and the international office of the University of Osnabrück. Three external speakers were invited for workshops.

The IRTG Retreat 2023 took place at the Frenswegen Monastery in Nordhorn from Monday, May 8th to Wednesday, May 10th. During this time, the PhD students of the new SFB 1557 had plenty of time for exchanging ideas and getting to know each other.


On the first day of the meeting, the PhD students shortly introduced themselves in 1-2 min pitch presentations. Furthermore, the meeting programme composed short method talks of the PIs of the SFB 1557, a presentation on the German science system and several workshops providing useful tools for a successful PhD.

Joint activities, such as a visit of an alpaca farm, a guided tour around the monastery and a pub quiz offered the possibility for getting to know each other and connections between the PhD students.  

IRTG Retreat 2021

The IRTG Retreat 2019 took place at Schloss Etelsen near Bremen from Wednesday, October 16th to Friday, October 18th. During these three days, the PhD students of the IRTG and the SFB 944 "Physiology and Dynamics of Cellular Microcompartments" presented their projects in form of progress reports or during poster sessions. In addition, we had two Flash Poster Presentations, in which PhDs could promote their poster in a short 1 min/1 slide presentation for the following poster sessions. These program points were framed by keynote lectures given by invited speakers and projekt/working group introductions of new SFB 944 investigators or junior group leaders.


Participants of the IRTG Retreat 2019 at Schloss Etelsen

Talks were given in the representative "Ballsaal" of the historic conference venue near Bremen

Besides a lot of coffee and tea, the breaks also offered a nice possibility for further scientific discussions

All participants could get interesting insights during a guided tour through Bremen, a "Hansestadt" located near the conference venue

Finding your right Pub Quiz team was a little bit "tumultous", though very effective for making new contacts!


Prof. Dr. Michael Kolbe (HZI Braunschweig, CSSB Hamburg)

Prof. Dr. Marina Mikhaylova (ZMNH Hamburg, UKE Hamburg)

Prof. Dr. Rita Groß-Hardt (University of Bremen)

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Springer (Jacobs University Bremen)

Prof. Dr. Rainer Kaufmann (University of Hamburg)

Prof. Dr. Guntram Graßl (MH Hannover)


Structure and function of molecules involved in bacterial infefections

Glutamergic shift synapses - regulators of organelle trafficking in dendrites

Building and bypassing plant polyspermy barriers

Empty MHC class I molecules: peptide binding, cell surface interactions and tumor immunotherapy

Correlative Super-Resolution Fluorescence and Electron-Cryo-Microscopy

Intestinal glycans affect the susceptibility to enteric infections

A social program including a dinner, a guided sightseeing tour in Bremen and a pub quiz evening completed the scientific program. In summary, the IRTG-Retreat 2019 was of great value for all PhD students of the IRTG and SFB 944!

The IRTG Retreat 2021 took place at the North Sea island Borkum from Wednesday, November 03rd to Saturday, November 06th. The conference venue was the Kulturinsel Borkum, and the participants were housed at the Hotel Kachelot, which is located within walking distance to the conference venue.


The 70 registered participants of the Retreat were composed of 40 PhD students of the IRTG/SFB 944, and 22 Postdoctoral Researchers and PIs. In addition, we are very glad that we could attract eight exciting keynote speakers, who also attended the Retreat in person:

Participants of the IRTG Retreat 2021 at Borkum

Slightly exhausted but nevertheless quite happy PhD students of the IRTG/SFB 944 at the end of the IRTG Retreat 2021

In summary, this Retreat gave us all again the opportunity for fruitful and open exchange after a very long period of deprivation due to pandemic restrictions. This event was quite successful in the regard of bringing the PhDs and the SFB 944 closer together and with this to build the base for prosperous science in the future!

Sharon Tooze, Molecular Cell Biology of Autophagy Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute

Rifka Vlijm, Molecular Biophysics, University of Groningen

Aymelt Itzen, Institute of Biochemistry and Signal Transduction, UKE Hamburg

Martin Aepfelbacher, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, UKE Hamburg

Margret Bülow, LIMES Life & Medical Sciences Institute, University of Bonn

Dagmar Wachten, Institute of Innate Immunity, University of Bonn

Martin Graef, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne

Stefan Linder, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, UKE Hamburg


Regulation of Mammalian autophagy: The role of the ULK kinase

Live cell STED microscopy

A biochemical approach to the understanding of post-translational modifications during bacterial infections

Live cell and super-resolution microscopy of bacterial protein translocation pores

Organelle communication in neuronfuntion and physiology

Shedding light on ciliary signaling and function

Mechanisms and physiological functions of autophagy

Compartmentalized adhesion and phagocytosis in human macrophages

Former IRTG Retreats organized by the IRTG of the former SFB 944:


Participants of the IRTG Kick-off meeting 2023 in front of Frenswegen Monastery, Nordhorn


In summary, the kick-off meeting was a great oppurtunity to bring the PhD students of the IRTG/SFB 1557 close together!

The location of this year's retreat: Frenswegen Monastery, Nordhorn

Guided tour through the botanical features of the monastery grounds - most sympathetic despite constant drizzle

Dr. Nadine Binder

"Survive and Thrive in Academia"

Dr. Jan Schmidt

"Project and Time Management"

Dr. Sven Arnold (Schreibzentrum Berlin)

"Planning and Writing Research Papers"