The Computational Medicine summer school (CompMed as we call it in short) has drawn to a close. Organised by ESI-Archamps and Université Grenoble-Alpes, CompMed is the kick-off boot-camp for students joining the 2022-2023 session of the Erasmus Mundus Master “Biosciences and Bioengineering Innovations for Precision Medicine” (BeInPM) proposed by Université Grenoble-Alpes, Universitat de Barcelona and Università di Napoli Federico II.
Over ten days, the 29 students representing 23 nationalities (yes, incredible diversity, no mistake here!) have been learning how to collaborate despite cultural differences, how to work under pressure, how to innovate using computational methods to better understand and treat chronic diseases, with a specific focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Throughout the dense programme of scientific lectures, hands-on computer practicals and teamwork, they have applied themselves with extraordinary dedication, going through many highs and lows in their quest to find innovative solutions to unmet needs in COPD. Getting lost in storms of ideas, finding a way forward only for everything to get blurred again. Going from excitement to despair … and then striking a positive note once more …. Strenuously climbing up the learning curve and then falling off the cliff with disillusionment when they realise their trail does not lead to the top.
It’s been wonderful to accompany them throughout this journey. To see them opening up and growing. To gain their trust. To challenge them with difficult questions during sunny times, and to support and guide them through rough waters in the times of crisis.
After long evenings of lively exchanges with the students, backed up by interactive sessions with COPD specialists, the final session saw the teams pitching their solutions to a jury and equally importantly to each other. I finally leave Archamps – tired but happy. Because I know that what I do makes great sense. And I know the students know it, too. They do believe they can make a difference in the world. And I firmly believe that one day they indeed will …
Katarzyna Szymanska, Science to the Point
Coach in creative thinking and scientific communication