The Biomedical Congress is an annual event organized by Medica focused on Biomedical students in the masters and the 3rd year of the bachelor’s. This congress can play a really important part in the education and career of the students. Together with the support of the Faculty of Medicine, we look forward to our 11th edition.
The ambition of the Biomedical Congress is to interest students and broaden their view beyond textbooks and exams. We provide a job fair to take a look at life after graduation, with a broad perspective focusing on both academic research as well as the biomedical industry. We hope to see many students with different backgrounds and interests and companies that complement them.
For our sponsors, The Biomedical congress is a great place to meet their future employees and present themselves as an established value in the biomedical field.
The Biomedical Congress
The congress consists of 3 important parts. First of all, we have lots of very interesting and educating speakers. These people will give more information about the main theme ‘Brains and Bacteria’.
Secondly, there are a couple of lectures about what it’s like to be a Ph.D. student or what life is like in research vs consultancy.
Lastly, we organize a job fair. The job fair will consist of different stands with lots of diverse companies for the diverse minors of all our biomedical students. Big or smaller companies, so the students can have a feeling of both worlds big and small within the biomedical work field after they graduate.
During the job fair everybody can enjoy a drink and a bite and talk to the companies of their interest. Thanks to our sponsors we can provide all of the attendees with a nice goodie bag.
13u30: Dr. Bram Van den Bergh
Bacteria as ultimate and intelligent foes:
A persistence evolution story
Bacteria are often considered one of the simplest life forms on earth and they clearly lack many of the “intelligent” aspects that eukaryotes possess. Despite their simple nature, the intricacies of bacterial physiology are quite complex and difficult to study. Furthermore, bacteria are immensely diverse and quickly to new challenges as their genomes are small, they reproduce swiftly and come in large populations. These large populations allow another level of complexity: phenotypic heterogeneity where individual bacteria can be ‘sacrificed’ to execute special tasks for the benefit of the entire population.
Prime example of such phenotypic specialization is how bacteria hedge their bets as protection against unpredictable disasters. I study how phenotypic heterogeneity results in the presence of antibiotic-tolerant bacterial cells and more specifically how this trait called “persistence” evolves. While neglected by standard medical practices, we see that highly sensitive strains of various bacteria can rapidly and flexible evolve hyper antibiotic tolerance in the lab via diverse mutational routes and mechanisms. Furthermore, looking at natural isolates, there is a tremendous diversity (5-7 orders of magnitude) in how bacteria can survive lethal antibiotic treatments that can be linked to various genetic elements present in the metagenomes. To make things worse, (the evolution of) high tolerance catalyzes the evolution of antibiotic resistance which renders antibiotics completely useless.
While lacking a brain, bacteria could be nevertheless viewed as possessing intelligence through their rapid micro evolution and ability to master conditions in illogical and unexpected ways.
Bram Van den Bergh is a product of our Alma Mater. He graduated as Bioscience Engineer in 2011 and obtained a PhD at the same faculty in 2016. Through ongoing support by FWO he continued his academic career, visiting Cornell University and Freiburg university during research stays and collaborating with many (inter)national researchers in various projects. His main focus is the evolution of molecular mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance.
14h15: Prof. Dr. Kristin Verbeke
15h: PhD 101
16h: Consultancy VS Internal positions – Jonas Grieten
16h30: Dr. Lindsay Devolder
17h: Dr. Jesper Van Dijk
17h30: Jobfair + Catering
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