OrganoVIR Finally Reunites in Person in Copenhagen

Three years ago, the OrganoVIR consortium gathered for the first time (in person) to celebrate the start of the OrganoVIR project. Once the pandemic began in 2020 and ZOOM meetings became the “new normal”, we were only able to see each other digitally as members of the OrganoVIR consortium are based in different countries in Europe. However, exciting news reached our ears earlier this year when COVID restrictions were lifted – we are finally able to travel and see each other in person again!

OrganoVIR Goes to the Copenhagen!

Once it became clear that we are allowed to travel again, we decided that it would be time to conduct an in-person meeting for the whole consortium. Coincidentally, our progress meeting (a bi-annual meeting where we would present and discuss progress in our project) is coming soon. After deciding that we should conduct the progress meeting in person, we decided to host the meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 7th and 8th of April 2022.

A few days before the official start of the progress meeting, on the evening of April 5th, Our Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) arrived in Copenhagen and gathered for dinner. This marks their first gathering together since the pandemic began. The next morning, on the 6th of April, our ESRs began their day early to join the PDP Masterclass led by Ingrid Valks. Meanwhile, other members of our consortium arrived later in the afternoon.

OrganoVIR’s ESRs Enjoying their Dinner in Copenhagen

On the 7th of April, we began the official first day of our progress meeting with a quick speech from our coordinator, Katja Wolthers. “Remember this day?” was written in large orange letters (colors of our consortium) on the first slide of the Progress Meeting. The slide after shows a photograph from the first and last gathering of the OrganoVIR consortium before the pandemic began. Laughter, awww’s, and chatter fills the room as members of our consortium glance at the photograph, reminiscing the day that we all first met.

Coordinator Katja Wolthers Opening the First Day of the Progress Meeting

Afterwards, we moved forward to the presentations from six of our ESRs, Emilia Barreto Durán, Asli Aybike Doğan, Igor Lopes Coquiero, Georgios Stroulios, Louisa Wallace, Laurensius Kevin Lie, and Louise Bondeelle.

Following the presentations from our ESRs and a quick coffee break, our coordinator Dasja Pajkrt introduced our special guest, Michael (Mike) Page. A professor of Finance and Management at Bentley University in Massachusetts, Mike also serves as a member of our Advisory Board. During our progress meeting, Mike delivered a presentation on navigating organization politics. His presentation received plenty of positive responses from our members.

Michael Page Presenting about Navigating Organizational Politics

Work Hard, Play Hard – that’s How We Do It in OrganoVIR.

To close the first day of the progress meeting, our Science Communications Officer, Dara Satrio invited all members of OrganoVIR to join a competitive exploration game that would take place in Freetown Christiana, a community in Copenhagen. The consortium was split into two groups named Thumbelina (ESRs & our Science Communications Officer) and the Nightingale (PI’s and our Project Manager, Angelica Reitsma). The names of the teams were inspired by fairytales written by Hans Christian Andersen, a famous Danish author. The concept of the game is to solve clues and puzzles to find landmarks in Christiania, and the group that solves the most clues wins the game. Hence, at 20:15 CET, members of the OrganoVIR consortium gathered at the lobby of Tivoli Hotel. The group departed together from the hotel and found their way to Christiania to play the game.

Our ESRs Posing by the entrance of Christiania

Despite the rain and a few technical hiccups, we had fun playing the exploration game. Thumbelina won the game by a few points ahead of the Nightingale, and we all returned to the Tivoli hotel to prepare for the second and final day of the progress meeting.

The Special Prize and Our Last and Final Day in Copenhagen

On the 8th of April, we kicked off the second day and final day of the OrganoVIR Progress Meeting 2022 with a quick recap of the previous night. As previously mentioned, Thumbelina (Team ESRs) won the race, which means that they also won the special prizes made in the lab at Amsterdam UMC – the OrganoVIR keychain! Following the announcement of the winner, the second day of the meeting continued with the rest of the progress presentations from the rest of the ESRs; Inés García Rodriguez, Giulia Moreni, Thuc Nguyen Dan Do, Nânci Ferreira, Fatma Masmoudi, Andrew Barnhart, and Ciro Esposito.

After the presentations from our ESRs, we wrapped up with a few words from our coordinator, Dasja Pajkrt. Following that, we had a quick coffee break and bid farewells before the PIs and two of our ESRs gathered for the final meeting of the day: the supervisory board meeting. During this meeting, the overall progress of our project and potential future collaborations are discussed.

PIs, partners, and some of our ESRs gathered for the Supervisory Board Meeting 

Of course, all good things come to an end. Once the supervisory board meeting is finished, we officially wrapped up our progress meeting in Copenhagen. We are proud to say that we were very happy to see our partners and ESRs again after three years. We were incredibly thrilled to see the progress made by our ESRs and how much they have grown in this project. We hope that we can see them again at the next OrganoVIR event. In the meantime, make sure that you are following us on Twitter & LinkedIN to stay up-to-date with our projects and activities!