First Winter School in Stuttgart 2023

First Winter School in Stuttgart 2023
The Bio2Brain Consortium during the Winter School at Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart

The third International Meeting was part of the first Bio2Brain Winter School that took place from 6 to 10 February 2023 at Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart, Germany. Again, the ESRs presented their latest results and gained valuable feedback from the discussions. The Winter School included a two-day workshop on “Spray Drying” and a one-day workshop on “Construction and 3D-Printing for medical devices” that was combined with an excursion to our partner organisation Beiter. The ESRs were also trained on “Gender Aspects and Ethics in Science”. The meeting was closed with a team building game.

The first two days were dedicated to the presentation of the progress reports followed by intensive discussions. In addition, the board meetings were conducted and the consortium took the opportunity to discuss all pending questions. On the evening of the first day, a common dinner in the city center of Stuttgart with traditional Swabian food brought the whole group closer together.

The workshop “Gender Aspects and Ethics in Sciences” took place in the form of strategy/ business games. After the game where the ESRs experienced the topic, they discussed about their responsibility as scientists to support and promote gender aspects and ethics in sciences today and in the future.

On the third day, the 3D-Printing workshop took place at our partner organisation Beiter GmbH & Co.KG. The aim of the training was to show the ESRs the way from an idea to a finished product made of plastic in the shortest possible time with the help of adaptive manufacturing. A company tour and a theoretical introduction to the topic was followed by a hand-on workshop with the 3D printer.

The experimental training on the final two days was divided into two parts: the production of microparticles via spray drying from the biopolymers inulin and chitosan and the characterization of the particle size by means of Static Light Scattering (SLS). The ESRs received general safety training and an introduction to the theoretical background of Spray Drying before starting the experiment. They were divided into four groups and each group was responsible for one of the four formulations that were produced during the experiment. Two inulin and two chitosan formulations were produced, using different spray-drying parameters, to investigate the impact of both polymer and parameters of the process on the final product. The resulting particles were evaluated based on their size distribution during the following day. An open discussion has started regarding the impact of spray drying parameters on the final particle product. A question and answer session concluded the training.

The Winter School ended with a team game. Here, the ESRs first had to build a tower under special conditions. The difficulty was to coordinate properly, not to act too hectically but in a considered way in order to reach the goal and not to knock over any of the bricks. The ESRs had to practise interacting with each other and finding their role in the team.