International Biology Olympiad in the Martinsried MaxLab

Pupils will deepen their knowledge in the first Bavaria-wie seminar

January 26, 2018

Every year, the most gifted biology pupils in the world compete in the International Biology Olympiad (IBO). In a four-stage selection process, four candidates can qualify for the national Olympic team. Now, for the first time, the 10 best Bavarian participants from the second round of selection will come together for a three-day seminar. In practical work and in direct exchange with scientists of the Max Planck Institutes (MPI) of Neurobiology and of Biochemistry in Martinsried, the pupils will practice basic methods of genetics, biochemistry, botany, and zoology. In addition, they will go on a guided tour of the Munich Botanical Garden and will take a crash-course in botany at the Biocenter of the LMU.

“The practical preparatory course for the third round should equip the pupils with a deeper knowledge of the theory and practice of biological methods,” emphasizes Andrea Beier, the state representative of the IBO in Bavaria and the initiator of the project. “Up to now, only one or two Bavarian pupils have generally qualified for one of the 45 places of the third round – we want to change that.” Similar to many other federal states of Germany, the aim of the new Bavaria-wide seminar is to support and provide further scientific motivation to the 10 best pupils of the second round. As Ina Peters, the head of the MaxLab pupil laboratory of the Martinsried MPIs knows, “It is always better to have done something yourself rather than just having read about it.”

The three-day seminar starts on January 24 with a guided tour of the Munich Botanical Garden followed by a botany practical at the Biocenter of Ludwig Maximilians University. The pupils will then spend the subsequent hours and days in the MaxLab. Here, they will receive intensive method training, whose aim is above all to prepare them for the practical part of the next round of selection. “What students of biology learn in the course of their undergraduate degrees, the pupils can now practice in a condensed format in the MaxLab,” says Ina Peters. The course will be rounded off with a meeting with Kristina Ganzinger. After completing her doctoral studies, the successful IBO participant now studies the origins of life in the “Cellular and Molecular Biophysics” department at the MPI of Biochemistry.

The Bavaria-wide seminar will allow the pupils to deepen their knowledge, while also allowing the successful participants of the second round of selection to prepare for the next round. In addition, the seminar offers pupils with a passion for biology the opportunity to get to know other schools and previous IBO participants and to learn more about degree courses in the life sciences from insiders that will attend the seminar.
The final of the IBO will take place in July in Shiraz, Iran.

International Biology Olympiad (IBO)

The aims of the competition are to encourage active interest in biological research and creative thinking in the solving of biological and ecological problems, to establish contacts between pupils with a particular interest in biology, and to develop ties of friendship between young people from different countries, so as to in this way contribute to international collaboration and to understanding between different nations.

MaxLab of the Martinsried Max Planck Institutes

The MaxLab is a common initiative of the Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and of Neurobiology. Its aim is to spark enthusiasm for life science research among pupils and other visitors and to provide orientation with respect to the choice of career path. In different course formats, groups or individuals can become familiar with cutting-edge laboratory methods and can carry out experiments themselves. The topics and methods that are covered reflect the current research of the two institutes. durchführen. Die behandelten Themen und Methoden spiegeln dabei die aktuelle Forschung der beiden Institute wider.

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