Connectome

2020. szeptember 26.

While there may be many examples of people starting to read something because they don’t understand what the title might mean, it’s best to clarify something right at the beginning. This title is only formally the same as the word “connectome,” suggested in 2005 independently by an American researcher from Indiana and a Swiss, based on the successful Human Genome Project (HGP), which has been the largest international project on the field of biology to date and ended less than two years earlier (April 14, 2003). That connectome refers to a map of all the connections within the nervous system of organizations, and who knows how long the Human Connectome Project will last, before we can say that all the neural connections in the brain with their numbers and functions, including their impact in the body, have been characterized .
KOKI's Connectome is an ambitious but slightly smaller project. However, this is also with risk, since building well-functioning, successful human relationships, creating such a network is a demanding job, and success is not guaranteed at all.

Let us see first the brave initiators!

Emília Bősz
- At the IBRO Workshop Gala Dinner in January of this year, we talked to Mayer Marci about the joys and hardships of being a student and came to the conclusion that there is no united student community at KOKI. We have decided to take over the organization and create one where, in addition to professional development, social events will also be given high emphasis. Marci then conviced Paula and Kristi to join us, so we became the four organizers and founded the Young Scientist Network with its social part named Connectome.

Márton Mayer :
- The daily operation and success of KOKI also includes the work of many students, the name of the institute is on the cover of many dissertations and PhD thesises. After the Student Seminar Series was permanently discontinued in 2018, there was a growing lack of initiative to bring together the young people working here. Emmi, Christi and Paula and I all sensed this, and although we started the organization just before the pandemic took place unfortunately , we were finally able to come up with our idea during the summer relief.

Arbona Paula Mut:
- Once when I went to the Nikon center to make a morphological analysis, I asked Marci to help me solve my software problems. Then we start talking about how better relations should be established between international and Hungarian students, and it was also discussed that obtaining a doctoral degree can be very difficult if someone does not know whom to ask for help. We also joked about my perpetual computer problems. When Marci said they were working with Emi to create a student network that would give students a chance to get to know each other, I immediately knew that I had a place there.

Christina Miskolczi :
- Maybe it was last fall or winter, when Marci mentioned the idea. Then I had a harder period because of my PhD, and somehow I lost my motivation a bit. Marci said that Emi and Paula have similar problems at times and it is pity that there is currently no active student community at KOKI where we can share our experiences and find solutions to problems that arise. Marci asked if I were interested in participating in building a network of students where we could learn from each other and find mutual support. I agreed immediately. If we can help anyone with this, it’s already worth it.

- The beginning is similar for all of you. Did you also formulate a common goal?

Emi:
- Within the framework of the YSN professional program series, in addition to the classical lectures, we planned interactive, conversational evenings that focus on professional topics. The goal of Connectome, the social part of YSN, is not the usual “let’s go to drink”, but the coordination, getting to know each other, which is helped by team-building games, games mixed with drama elements.

Marci:
- We can learn a lot from each other, as we also cover a wide variety of areas in-house and use different techniques. However, we have in common the difficulties we encounter in our work. That’s why it’s at least as important to build a supportive community that spans individual labs through Connectome events. This can help to recruit new staff, especially from abroad. A closer community has a motivating power, which can also be a great help in certain phases of research.

Paula:
- Cooperation is essential for scientific success. And it’s not just about professional relationships. It is very important for a doctoral student to be able to feel in the event of more difficult periods, stress caused by insecurity or lack of motivation, that there are those who have already coped with a similar situation, so they can support others.
The goal of Connectome is team building so we can get to know each other outside of work and hopefully make friends among new colleagues. Nor is it negligible that those we know better are also more easily trusted in the scientific field.

Christi:
- Although there is slowly a year ago that the original idea was formulated, implementation has shifted significantly due to experiments and the epidemic situation. We four, met first in July to plan events. We originally planned two events a month, a community event and a professional event, but due to another wave of spread, this also had to be modified. We will not give up, we will continue to look for the best solution. We’ve already accumulated a lot of ideas for both series of events, and we’re coming up with lots of exciting things, so feel free to come with anyone who cares!

- The poster for the second event is already out at the institute! But when, how will you feel that your initiative has really been a success?

Emi:
- The biggest success for me would be to create a cohesive student community at KOKI. If we could organize events where we could share our research experiences and where we could support and encourage each other.

Christi:
- Even the first Connectome meeting was a huge success for us. Seeing how many they were interested and had a good time, appreciated the opportunity, it all meant a lot to us. And that when they ask, "So, when will meet next time?", is an uplifting feeling. From here, the real success would be if we could continue like this and maintain that enthusiasm that people want to attend events because they feel good and love being there.

Marci:
- I think these occasions are successful as long as the students working at the institute are happy to come and take their time to get to know each other and each other’s work.

Paula:
- Success in scientific sense will be, when we are able to organize really useful seminars and when there is never a shortage of new topics. If we manage to discuss and solve our technical problems with each other's help, and those who will join us will also feel the help and support.
It will be a real success if people keep coming because that way the bigger group will have more ideas and we'll have even more fun.