To ensure that all PhD students, irrespective of their backgrounds, have a broad knowledge base in the topics of the RTG, all PhD students are required to participate in an introductory Advanced Lecture Seriesat the start of the first year. GenEvo students participate in lectures on gene regulation and evolution, incl. evolution of proteins, RNAs and gene regulation, speciation and adaptation, population and statistical genetics. They will also choose lectures on two additional topics of their choice, e.g. computational biology, DNA repair and genome stability, RNA biology, epigenetics and nuclear dynamics, and ageing and disease. GenEvo group leaders, associated GenEvo members, and other group leaders from Mainz give these lectures. In addition to providing a solid theoretical framework for their PhDs, this lecture series also introduces the PhD students to the expertise, specific approaches and methods available within GenEvo and related groups in Mainz.
Consolidation of knowledge
In the 2nd year of their PhD, the students deepen their knowledge during a summer school that invites external lecturers who complement the expertise present in Mainz. The summer school is organised jointly with another research training group to foster a wider exchange of ideas and know-how, and to better network the members of the RTG into the European evolution and molecular biology communities.
In addition, all PhD students have to participate in a 2-day workshop on evolutionary theory and gene regulationled by GenEvo’s Mercator Fellow Prof. Franjo Weissing.
Some training activities regularly occur throughout the duration of the RTG. These include bi-monthly seminars on GenEvo topics by renowned invited speakerswho present their current research as well as TechTalks, where invited experts introduce the latest technological developments. In addition, PhD students are encouraged to attend seminars and lectures at JGU and IMB, in particular the evolutionary biology lecture series at the faculty of Biology and IMB Seminars.
Moreover, the RTG organises a Journal Club. The aim of the journal club is to bring PhD students up to date with the current literature and train their critical thinking, their presentation and communication skills. Sessions alternate between discussions on papers from evolutionary biology and molecular biology. GenEvo PhD students present articles and afterwards invite their peers to a discussion on e.g. related techniques, ethics or the relation of the article to their own work. A PI takes part in each session to support the hosting PhD student.