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Julie Wijns looks back at the Butterfly Autumn School

Take the Autumn School Photo Journey

Reflection on the Autumn School

Julie Wijns

The first Maxima Butterfly Autumn School centered around the overarching theme of ‘Increasing knowledge across pediatric cancers’. Over the course of 4 days, the audience was introduced to the 28 Butterfly PhD projects spanning 5 distinct research pillars and provided profound insights into the multifaceted approaches employed by different research groups to combat pediatric cancer.

A particularly impactful session was hosted by Hannah Johnson from Green Labs NL about sustainability in our research. The discourse extended beyond the laboratory, encouraging us to reconsider means of transportation for traveling to international conferences and raised awareness about the responsible usage of research equipment to reduce energy consumption. This eye-opening talk instigated a collective reflection on minimizing our ecological footprint in the pursuit of scientific progress.

Industrial speaker Marrit Putker from Crown Biosciences delivered an enlightening presentation on the company’s use of organoid models and ex vivo patient tissue samples to accelerate the advancement of therapeutic opportunities for patients. The subsequent visit to their facility in Leiden served as a catalyst for contemplating collaborative efforts between academia and industry, offering valuable insights into potential future career trajectories within this field.

The event concluded with a shared meal among the Butterfly PhD students and steering committee and underscored the sense of strong community within the PMC that became increasingly apparent over the course of the event. Overall, the Maxima Butterfly Autumn School offered a holistic overview of the Princes Maxima Center’s commitment to its core mission of improving outcomes for young patients through cutting-edge research.