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Sebastian Reinartz in the lab of Prof. S. Marom, Technion, Haifa, Israel

Sebastian Reinartz in the lab of Prof. S. Marom, Technion, Haifa, Israel


Gaining friends and experiences in Israel


Sebastian Reinartz at a visit to the famous archeological site in Petra, Jordan
I am an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Biology in the University of Freiburg, preparing for a diploma thesis in the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Freiburg. Before embarking on the diploma project itself, biology students at the University of Freiburg have to perform first small research projects of their own. Under certain circumstances, the University of Freiburg also recognizes projects performed outside of the University, and even abroad. This possibility and the fact that I could secure financial support  from the University gave me the chance to combine collecting the last credits for my diploma studies with an exciting stay abroad, which I gladly accepted.

As a potential host, PD Dr. Egert from the Freiburg Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) suggested me the lab of Prof. Shimon Marom at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine) in Haifa, with whom he maintains an ongoing collaboration. This group offered me the opportunity to work for three months in their excellently equipped laboratory.

Generously, Prof. Marom offered me complete freedom in designing and performing my own experiments and allowed me free access to his lab resources. The only restriction was that my research questions had to be related to his own work. This freedom was very effective in enhancing my self-discipline and creativity. In this endeavor, I was also supported by all members of the laboratory, who offered me valuable discussions and feedback, and were always there to help. My experimental work included recordings and stimulation of cultured neuronal networks with multi-electrode arrays (MEAs), and data analysis using the software package Matlab. The experiments I performed focused on temporal activity correlations in these cultures and their modulation by electrical stimulation.

I also participated in the weekly talks of the neuroscience group and had the chance to attend my first International Conference, “The Second Computational Motor Control Workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev” in Beer-Sheva. Above all, the host lab even supported me financially by covering my local expenses.

Besides the insights into different research methods and the working atmosphere of an international research lab, I also gained multifaceted impressions of a fascinating country and people. From the beginning, I was most warmly received and hosted. In order to share that experience, I can whole-heartedly   recommend a research project in an Israeli lab to any student who would like to learn a lot, and, in addition, to have a great and adventurous time.

 By the time I had to go back to Freiburg, I had made some excellent friends, leaving me convinced that I will return to Israel one day. I hope the interconnection between the Technion and the BCCN Freiburg will be further intensified in the future, and that both parts profit from it. These extraordinary three months were a very important time in my life that I will never forget. I would like to thank everybody who contributed to making this exchange possible and so pleasant. 

                                                                                                          Sebastian Reinartz

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