Visualising Life – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biology – Undergraduates

EMBL Lautenschläger Summer School 2023

Visualising Life – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Biology

COVID-19 information

Full details of applicable COVID-19 policy will be confirmed to attendees.


As in the previous edition, the 2023 Summer School will focus on Visualising Life. The programme will introduce students with non-biology background to the dynamic interdisciplinary world of current biology research.

Modern life science has benefitted tremendously from new technologies and concepts in physics, engineering and mathematics, while computer science has changed the way we can analyze and exploit data for new insights.

Are you eager to engage in these ideas and help shape the future of biology? Join us for an exciting 2-week course at one of the leading biology research institutions in Europe.

Course aim

The program’s aim is to provide insightful and hands-on experience in current biology methods, such as building a high-speed microscope to image developing organisms, and using machine learning to extract insightful data from the resulting complex images. EMBL group leaders and PhD students will lead theoretical lectures, complemented by experimental practicals and stimulating discussion rounds. In addition, the program offers a myriad of social activities that foster a collaborative spirit, which is a hallmark of research at EMBL.

Target group

Our programme targets advanced Bachelor and Master students from Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science searching for a graduate-level program (e.g. Master or PhD). Students should have a strong interest to work in a highly interdisciplinary environment and must be fluent in English.

Previous knowledge of biology is beneficial, but not required.

With profound thanks to the Manfred Lautenschläger-Stiftung

Scientific Organisers

EMBL Group Leaders



PhD Students

Erin Chung (Huber Group), Antonia Hauth (Heard Group), Peter Park (Kreshuk Group).


Deadline for applications: Sunday 23 April 2023, 23:59 CEST.

The summer school is limited to 20 participants.

Motivation letter and CV

For selection purposes, you are required to submit a motivation letter and a CV. In order to ensure a fair and equal selection process, please refrain from adding a photo to your CV. Applications without a CV or motivation letter will not be considered.


  1. Include your relevant skills, experience and qualifications showing why you would be suitable for this summer school.
  2. Explain why you would like to attend, including:
  • what you can contribute
  • how you think you will benefit from the summer school

You will be able to edit your motivation letter until the deadline: Sunday 23 April 2023, 23:59 CEST.

Financial support

Travel grants and fee waivers are available for the Summer School participants.

The travel grant will cover the cost of travel up to a maximum (economy tickets only).
The fee waiver will cover the cost of the registration fee.

You can apply for financial support when submitting your motivation letter.

Confirmation and Payment

Registration fee: 200 EUR

The registration fee includes:

  • admission and materials
  • accommodation
  • local transportation
  • meals and coffee breaks at EMBL Heidelberg

Payment of the registration fee will be possible only once your application has been accepted. Selection results will be notified by mid-May.


The final programme for 2023 programme will be confirmed later, however it is expected to be similar to the 2022 edition.

The programme is still work in progress and the final programme for the 2023 Summer School will be confirmed later.

Week 1

TimeMonday 26 JuneTuesday 27 JuneWednesday 28 JuneThursday 29 JuneFriday 30 June
08:30Welcome by organisers
09:00 – 10:00Keynote lecture: Biology concepts.

Speaker: Gautam Dey
Keynote lecture

Speaker: Jordi van Gestel
Probes and Sensors.

Speaker: Franziska Walterspiel
Keynote lecture: Deep learning.

Speaker: Anna Kreshuk
Keynote: Imaging Biology.

Speaker: Christian Tischer
10:00 – 11:00Keynote lecture

Speaker: Jan Ellenberg
Keynote lecture: Cell Mechanics.

Speaker: Nicoletta Petridou
Beyond the Difraction Limit.

Speaker: Aline Tschanz
The Basics of Development.

Speaker: Noa Borst
Bio-Image Analysis: Pixels, Filters, Morphology.

Speaker: Ricardo Sanchez
11:00 – 11:30BreakBreakBreakBreakBreak
11:30 – 12:30Basic concepts of microscopy.

Speaker: Amr Tamimi
Beyond Light Microscopy.

Speaker: Nikita Kaydanov
Non-model organisms.

Speaker: Jaroslav Ferenc
Single Cell Methods and Analysis.

Speaker: Tümay Capraz
All the FISH 🐟

Speaker: Antonia Hauth
12:30 – 13:30LunchLunchLunchLunchLunch
13:30 – 18:00Practical: Microscopy buildingPractical: Microscopy buildingPractical: Imaging biologyPractical: Imaging biologyPractical: Image analysis
18:00 – 20:00 DinnerDinnerDinnerDinnerDinner with current EMBL Predocs

A tour of the Heidelberg Castle has been planned for Saturday 1 July 2023 at 14:00.

Week 2

TimeMonday 3 JulyTuesday 4 JulyWednesday 5 JulyThursday 6 JulyFriday 7 July
09:00 – 10:00Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy.

Speaker: Karel Mocaer
Keynote lecture

Speaker: David Oriola
Keynote lecture

Virginie Uhlmann
Student presentationsEMBL Lab day – all day programme
10:00 – 11:00Keynote lecture

Speaker: Julia Mahamid
Keynote lecture

Speaker: Alejandro Torres-Sánchez
Keynote lecture

Speaker: Anna Erzberger
Student presentations
11:00 – 11:30BreakBreakBreakBreak
11:30 – 12:30Deep Learning for Applications in Biology.

Speaker: Peter Park
Keynote lecture: Light sheet microscopy

Speaker: Jan Huisken
Theory / modelling

Speaker: Jan Rombouts
Student presentations
12:30 – 13:30LunchLunchLunchLunch
13:30 – 18:00Practical: Image analysisFocus practicalsFocus practicalsWrap-up and feedback
18:00 – 20:00 DinnerDinnerDinnerFarewell DinnerLab Day Dinner and Party


Feedback from 2022 participants

I had an amazing time at the EMBL Lautenschläger Summer School. Not only did I learn a lot about biology and imaging, but it was also a lot of fun meeting people from many different countries and many different fields. I especially liked how you’re encouraged to talk with the experts informally, not just about the subject, but also about what it’s like to work at EMBL. I never expected to find so many people working there with backgrounds other than biology. Now that I’ve seen it firsthand, I definitely want to do a PhD at EMBL myself.

Eric Laudemann, Germany

I never thought that I would be able to participate for a summer camp at EMBL and gain a new and amazing experience on the different academic activities conducted. It was a rare opportunity in my life where I was able to actually realize one of my dreams. Although I had a good mathematical and physics background before participating in this summer camp, I really didn’t have a clear understanding on how biological concepts fits in with physics theories. I really got a good understanding on how these different subject areas interconnect with each other and why that is important for future research work. The learning environment was really amazing, everyone was very enthusiastic, friendly and how everyone collaborated together and helped each other out. I would definitely love to pursue my PhD at this laboratory and will be looking forward to apply once I complete my current degree course.

Sachin Chandrasekara, Sri Lanka

The summer school offered us a very enjoyable and warm learning environment – everyone was very friendly and encouraged our curiosity and questions, and the conversations during coffee breaks were never boring. The lectures introduced us to a broad range of ideas, while the practicals allowed us to tinker and experiment, with enough guidance to avoid being overwhelmed. I got to meet so many kind and interesting people, and the entire experience got me excited about science and helped me see how different disciplines can come together to solve a problem.

Jelena Zaninović, Croatia

EMBL Lautenschläger Summer School is a perfect place for young scientists from all fields. Getting together with people of different backgrounds to learn about and do science was an experience I will never forget. From building a microscope to preparing samples to imaging our animals and actually doing analysis on them was an absolute joy. Also getting to interact with so many Group leaders, Postdocs and PhD students to talk about their work during lunch breaks was so special. This school gave me a new perspective on interdisciplinary science and has given me so many new choices to consider for my future career.

Jakob Mäeots, Estonia

I came to the Summer School for knowledge, but I am taking home much more: a unique experience in multiple disciplines, cultural exchange within an international community, and new research perspectives and ideas. It certainly gives me more insights, opportunities for a future career, and connections with truly incredible people.

Polina Kostina, Russia

Feedback from 2019 participants

“The summer school provided me with invaluable insight of how my background in computer science can be useful in an interdisciplinary research setting. I loved the hands-on approach; building a high speed imaging microscope, and tried some machine learning. Combined with talks held by PhD students and group leaders we always had an opportunity to ask questions; from how life is under the microscope or at EMBL. The international participants where also a blast to get to know and make you feel less intimidated by such hard working but friendly scientists. By going to the summer school I have broadened my horizons and feel excited to see where my studies can take me.

Christopher Vibe, Norway

“I loved the enthusiasm of the speakers and the social events in the evening in particular, they gave us a chance to unwind after a long day. I think it has widened my eyes more to studying for my PhD in another country which I hadn’t really considered before the school and studying a PhD in microbiology which I didn’t think was possible before as my degree is in Mechatronic Engineering.

Andrew Wilson, Ireland


EMBL Heidelberg

Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg

Tel: +49 6221 387-8612
Fax: +49 6221 387-8400
Email: summerschool@embl.de

Date: 26 Jun - 7 Jul 2023

Location: EMBL Heidelberg

Time: 09:00

Venue: EMBL Imaging Centre


Registration: Closed

Contact: Anna Alasalmi