Strategic Communication and Public Relations

Multi-talented Jack of all trades, miracle healer or the root of all evil?

European Stem Cell Day took place in Germany for the first time – Heidelberg was part of it!

No. 14 | 11/03/2016 | by Sel

On March 11, an unusual subject was on the agenda: Stem cells. More than 1000 high school students in eight German cities visited Institutes and Universities on a quest for stem cells in research and medicine. In Heidelberg, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the University Hospital and the University opened their doors for talks and lab visits. The idea is a European one: More than 25,000 young people set out on UniStem Day in Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland Serbia, Denmark and for the first time in Germany, to find out more about this Jack of all trades in the world of cells.

High school students were given a glimpse of stem cell research on UniStem Day.
© Uwe Anspach, DKFZ

On Friday 11 March, the DKFZ welcomed around 200 high school students through its doors. In talks, videos, tours around the labs, in discussions and direct conversations with the experts, they learned about various aspects of current basic research, ethical questions, and potential medical application of stem cells, as well as various career options in biomedicine. Beside the Life Science Lab and DKFZ scientists, some other groups also participated. These came from the stem cell institute HI-STEM, the Center for Organismal Studies (COS) of the University, the University Hospital, as well as the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg.

The aim of UniStem Day is to introduce young students to the current state and the potential of stem cell research. Stem cell research is developing so rapidly that it's impossible to represent it in the current school curriculum. UniStem Day is designed to stimulate curiosity, raise questions and provide information. Having started as a project by the University of Milan in 2009, in its 8th year UniStem Day now comprises 73 universities in 51 European cities with over 400 speakers and more than 25,000 participants. Germany's participation was initiated by the German Stem Cell Network* (GSCN), who also acted as a central coordinating body.

An image for this press release is available at

Legend: High school students were given a glimpse of stem cell research on UniStem Day.
Source: Uwe Anspach, DKFZ

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. More than 1,300 scientists at the DKFZ investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and search for new strategies to prevent people from developing cancer. They are developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to all questions on cancer.

Jointly with partners from the university hospitals, the DKFZ operates the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and Dresden, and the Hopp Children's Tumour Center KiTZ in Heidelberg. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of the six German Centers for Health Research, the DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partner locations. NCT and DKTK sites combine excellent university medicine with the high-profile research of the DKFZ. They contribute to the endeavor of transferring promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improving the chances of cancer patients.

The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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