Visiting the Annual Meeting of the DGK in Mannheim

One major event this year was the annual meeting of the DGK (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kardiologie, german society of cardiology) in Mannheim.
We applied with seven abstracts and got 2 talks and 4 posters accepted, as already blogged by Jeanette.

So to Mannheim we went!

The Venue

First of all: it was overwhelming! Several thousand attendees, hundreds of big and small companies presenting their products, a huge number of parallel sessions, and a big poster hall.

At the pulse of cardiology…

We stayed in Heidelberg because it’s a small nice(r) city close to Mannheim (15 min with the urban railway), and both our hotel and the conference venue in Mannheim were only a few minutes walking distance from the train stations.

Attending this conference for the first time, and having to give a talk at an early hour (8am) was quite a challenge. Zouhair and I had to get up early to catch the train to be in Mannheim on time and still have a few minutes to catch our breath and prepare for the talk.
Hotel served breakfast from 7 am, which was our time to go to the train station – in other words, no breakfast for us :( 

Anyways, we made it in time, and the talk went nice – despite having only 10 minutes and a count down on your slides that do make you a bit nervous :)

Fortunately, the session was not only attended by the chairs, the speakers and their fans, but despite being the morning session, some more scientists were there! That, unfortunately, was not the case for all sessions – some were really full, and in others, the audience was quite sparsely populated.

After the session, we found the time to get a really small breakfast… one had coffee and a croissant, the other tea and a cinnamon bun-like thingy with poppy.

Leftovers of a conference breakfast

At lunch time I took the chance to have a walk in and around Mannheim! It is nicely located between two rivers, the Rhein and the Neckar, and the center is designed like a checkerboard pattern. Once you get it mapped out (pun definitely intended), it’s easy to walk around without getting lost.
The city doesn’t reach the charm of Heidelberg or Lübeck, but it has some nice spots!

Back at the conference, it was time for the afternoon sessions – I went to see talks on ‘Molecular and cellular basics of cardiac remodelling’ – it was really interesting!

One really nice feature was the conference app for mobile devices! It was much easier to carry around compared to the conference book (saved me almost 1 kg), and much more convenient to browse for sessions, mark them and plan the day!

After having fed the brain, it was about time to get some food for the body. As the rest of our group arrived in the evening, we all (minus Caro – poor girl had to learn for her final exams in medicine!) went to have some drinks and then dinner at our favorite restaurant in Heidelberg: Sahara! A clear recommendation for everyone visiting Heidelberg!

Enjoying summer-like temperatures in a beer garden

Friday was much more relaxed and started much better than the day before: we got a proper breakfast at the hotel! 
Ingrid gave a nice talk about familial hypercholesterolemia (I was too enthralled to photo-document this), and we had to present the posters! Steffi presented hers in the morning, Maria, Caro and Zouhair (on behalf of Redouane) in the afternoon – after our relaxing lunch break outside with one hour of enjoying the really nice and sunny weather outside.

A sunny lunch, followed by some good ice cream!

presenting posters

Again, the vast amount of sessions made it hard to choose, but we found some! A really nice one for us basic researchers was the afternoon session about ‘Atherogenesis, Neointima and Remodelling’. There were interesting topics, nice talks, and good discussions!

After such exciting scientific days, all the others started their journey back home to Lübeck.

I stayed to visit some of my friends, who are working, doing or having done their PhDs in Heidelberg. We went on a nice excursion to the ‘Palace Park’ of Schwetzingen on Saturday!

Cherry blossoms in the park

Overall, I must say, it was a great experience! I had my first talk at a big conference, our Institute had a great appearance with 2 talks and 4 posters, we attended a lot of interesting presentations from other researchers, and we still had the chance to enjoy some sun!