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An infrastructure and research centre for data and information in the life sciences.

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#keepZBMED: the audience at the 3rd ZB MEDScience Slam took a stand against the threatened closure of the specialist library. Photo: ZB MED / Michael Wodak

Wednesday, 20.04.2016

Third ZB MED Science Slam is a resounding success

ZB MED- Leibniz Centre for Life Sciences takes a stand against the threat of closure with a powerful protest photo.


On Tuesday, 19 April 2016, ZB MED – Leibniz Information Centre for Life Sciences celebrated the first anniversary of its LIVIVO search portal with an entertaining science slam. ZB MED also took the opportunity to take a group photo of the audience at the sold-out event protesting against the threat to close down the library. In March the Leibniz Association Senate recommended cutting off ZB MED’s funding. That has thrown a cloud of uncertainty over the future of the biggest library in the field of life sciences.

“All I can say right now is: wow!” said Dr. Ursula Zängl, deputy director of ZB MED, welcoming the 200 guests to the sold-out ZB MED event in the library foyer.

ZB MED decided that the science slam should focus firmly on life sciences in order to highlight the incredible diversity of this area of science. “And that’s echoed by the amazing diversity of our LIVIVO search portal,” emphasised Zängl. Five up-and-coming experts in their respective fields had just 10 minutes each to present their research results to the public in the most entertaining way possible. And at the end of the presentations, the audience chose a winner.

Shortly before the interval, the public took a stand to protest against the threatened closure of ZB MED. All the members of the audience held up a sign saying #keepZBMED for a group photo, adding their support to ZB MED in its struggle for survival. “We hope that this initiative will give an even more personal touch to our efforts to keep ZB MED alive,” said Ursula Zängl. In the interval, the audience members also took the opportunity to sign a petition at an information booth to keep ZB MED up and running.

But as well as marking a protest against the threat of closure, the evening also offered plenty of entertainment. The first person to take to the stage was Franca Parianen-Lesemann, who explained what social neuroscientists actually do. She vividly put across how feelings are infectious. Next up was biologist Susanne Grube, who revealed that the sex life of the planthopper Hyalesthes obsoletus is more exciting than you might think. This bug finds its mate using the vibrations of its entire body. In the third presentation, Ulises Rey from Barcelona explained the work of neuroscientists and noted how much the human brain resembles that of the fly. The fourth slammer to present his work was the physicist Stefan Schäfer, who gave a presentation entitled “War of the follicles” describing how computer simulations can be used to improve hormone therapy for female infertility.

Complete press release