1, Career Forum
Am I prepared for a career in neuroscience? What are the ups and downs of this life? Should I choose academic or industrial research? How much will I earn? Do I have the chance to have a family? Should I consider working abroad?
If You ever wondered about any of these questions, then the career forum is for You. In this workshop, invited speakers of different scientific backgrounds and at different career stages will share their insight and experience in a less formal manner.
Participants are encouraged to ask relevant questions directly from the speakers during the forum.
Questions can also be submitted anonymously before the conference via a google form that can be found here.
Get to know our invited speakers below!
Dr. Balázs Hangya - Having the vague idea of being interested in human genetics, I decided to submit my application to the med school after my highschool years. Throughout my first year I learned two things: first, modern genetics was not really what I imagined - something like Mendel growing peas in the monastery garden. Second, I was missing math, more precisely, the need of using logic and reason - med school impressed me more like an extensive declarative memory exercise. Thus, I enrolled in the math program (then a 5-year program, before the introduction of BS and MS) in parallel with the med school. While intensive, I really enjoyed this, and soon found myself performing undergrad research ('TDK') in a neuroscience lab where data analysis (would be called data science these days) expertise was needed.
From here, my academic path was relatively straightforward: after graduating from med school, I started a PhD in neuroscience (while finishing the math program with a specialization in probability theory and statistics). I then spent nearly five years as a postdoc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the US, to return to Hungary as a young PI in 2016, when I established my lab with support from the Academy (Momentum starting grant) and the EU (ERC Starting Grant). Eight years into independence, I'm considered a so-called 'mid-career' neuroscientist...
Dr. Zoltán Varga - I started my studies as a biologist student due to my affection for wildlife. At the university, I found out that the core of such interest is more about understanding complex phenomena piece by piece than fandom for a particular animal species. This realization has led me to experimental research, and my faculty's focus has led me to behavioural science. One of my teachers told me that if I want both of these, that is what they call neuroscience, and he has contacts with KOKI if I am interested.
I have worked at KOKI on stress neurobiology from undergrad to postdoc. In the last 13 years, I had fewer grants than submissions and fewer papers than projects, but I'm still rather motivated than burned out and feel I have the best job on earth. Despite being satisfied with my career, I am considering a postdoc position abroad and moving with my family, which is frankly terrifying. I am really into destructive topics like "from what point is it considered pathological to fear the change", "do I need to be a top scientist to be happy", or the classical "science is broken, it has to be repaired".
Márton Mayer - I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Veterinary Medicine and a master’s degree in Neurosciences from Eötvös Loránd University. In the beginning of my studies, I joined the Institute of Experimental Medicine and started working as a student researcher. I spent a large part of my time in the lab contributing to significant scientific discoveries and successful research projects. After graduation, I decided to continue as a PhD student, so I began to work more independently on the topic of my doctoral program, studying the cholinergic system.
After years of scientific research as a full-time job, recently I made a sharp turn and started working as an application scientist at a company developing medical devices. Currently, my aim is to finish my thesis and doctoral studies and to pursue a career in the healthtech industry.
Dr. Viktor Kis - Throughout my life, I have been guided by two things: learning new things and then passing them on to others. The love of learning and reading was instilled in me by my maternal grandfather when I was a small child. Teaching, and through this, the feeling of self-efficacy, that I am able to convey my knowledge to others in an understandable and enjoyable way touched me when I was in high school. This way of thinking has accompanied me throughout my life so far.
I graduated from Eötvös Loránd University in 2009 as a biologist. From 2009 to 2018, I initially worked at ELTE and later at the Institute of Experimental Medicine (KOKI) as a teacher and researcher. I taught for seven years, and during that time I had the pleasure of teaching more than a thousand students. After the academic world, my interest gradually shifted towards business, consultancy and psychology. I worked as a sales representative at Unicam Hungary Ltd. for 3 years. I was responsible for the sales, support and installation of state of art Hitachi electron microscopes in Hungary. Meanwhile I completed the mental health specialist postgraduate course at Semmelweis University.
The fact that I changed my career plans many times reflects my proactive approach, that I realized that I need to develop in the areas mentioned above in order to be able to flourish in my life. These changes were often difficult, but at the same time I gained a lot of knowledge and experience, which made me very tough and resilient.
2, Dr. Viktor Kis: What makes you bulletproof? - How to cope with stress using resilience?
In my talk, I will present the mental superpower called resilience. I will discuss in detail the characteristics of the resilient character, and the so-called resilience competencies. The most important message of my talk is that the resilience competencies are built on each other, their order is not accidental, and that these competencies can be developed.