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

European Stem Cell Day UniStem Day 2017 – Heidelberg was part of it!

No. 14a | 20/03/2017 | by Sel

On March 17, an unusual subject was on the agenda: Stem cells. More than 1000 high school students in ten 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 for the second time. The idea is a European one: More than 27,000 young people set out on UniStem Day in Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland, Serbia, Denmark and 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.
© Philipp Benjamin, DKFZ

On Friday 17 March, the DKFZ welcomed around 150 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, as well as the University Hospital 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 9th year UniStem Day now comprises 80 universities in 51 European cities with over 400 speakers and more than 27,000 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.

Note on use of images related to press releases
Use is free of charge. The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) permits one-time use in the context of reporting about the topic covered in the press release. Images have to be cited as follows: "Source: Philipp Benjamin, DKFZ".
Distribution of images to third parties is not permitted unless prior consent has been obtained from DKFZ's Press Office (phone: ++49-(0)6221 42 2854, E-mail: Any commercial use is prohibited.

*The German Stem Cell Network (GSCN) is a network association aiming to create synergies between all areas of applied and basic stem cell research, and to provide an interface between science, education, politics and society as a whole. The central task of the GSCN is to pool the expertise in stem cell research in Germany and develop synergies between basic research, regenerative medicine and pharmacology. The initiative will promote innovative research activities on a national and international level. In addition, targeted information and events will be offered to encourage the public discourse on stem cell research.

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also 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 questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
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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