To ensure that the participating PhD students, irrespective of their backgrounds, have a broad basic knowledge of the topics of the RTG, the programme introduces them to key concepts and open questions in evolution, gene regulation and related areas in Advanced Series Lectures.
In the GenEvo Advanced Series Lecture, directly after the start of a PhD cohort, GenEvo group leaders introduce the PhD students to GenEvo specific topics like evolution, population genetics or speciation & adaptation. With a mixture of lectures, team working and single tasks the PhD students get familiar with those topics and to effectively collaboration with their peers.
Besides, all PhD students are obliged to participate twice in the IPP Advanced Lecture Series on gene regulation, epigenetics and genome stability. In addition to providing students a solid theoretical framework for their PhDs, this course introduces them to the expertise and methods of the group leaders working on gene regulation and related areas in Mainz. The latter will be a valuable resource throughout the rest of their PhDs as it ensures that students are familiar with specific approaches, model systems and have detailed knowledge.
Consolidation of knowledge
In the 2nd year of their PhD, the students deepen their knowldege in a summer school that invites external lecturers who complement the expertise present in Mainz. The summer school is organized 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 monthly seminars on GenEvo topics by renowned invited speakers who 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. To support the hosting PhD student a PI takes part in each session.