News Release

About the beginning of life, bacteria in the gut and collective intelligence in bees

News from the life sciences

Meeting Announcement


How does human life begin, which processes influence the human gut microbiome, and what do researchers know about the collective intelligence of honeybees? Members of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina will answer these and other questions at the virtual symposium of Class II - Life Sciences.

Online-Symposium Class II - Life Sciences "2. Life Science Symposium 2021"
Monday, 21 June 2021, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Berlin/Germany)
Online via Zoom

The Class Symposia of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina are forums for scientific exchange and provide insights into the diverse research topics of Academy members. On Monday, 21 June, members of Class II will speak in four sessions about current research results from the life sciences.

In their presentations, the scientists will focus on new findings in protein biochemistry and glycobiology (Prof. Dr. Stefan Raunser, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund/Germany; Prof. Dr. Ludger Johannes, Institut Curie, Paris/France), provide insights into the beginning of human life (Dr. Melina Schuh, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen/Germany) and report on the role of the immune system in pain perception and tumor development (Prof. Dr. Rohini Kuner, University of Heidelberg/Germany). Other topics are the human gut microbiome (Prof. Dr. Ruth Ley, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen/Germany), the question how immune cells influence liver diseases (Prof. Dr. Mathias Heikenwälder, German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ, Heidelberg/Germany) and mechanisms of epigenetic regulation (Prof. Dr. Asifa Akhtar, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg/Germany). In addition, the speakers will also talk about how plants adapt to unfavorable light conditions (Prof. Dr. Christian Fankhauser, University of Lausanne/Switzerland), modern taxonomy in biodiversity research (Prof. Dr. Miguel Vences, Technische Universitaet Braunschweig/Germany) and collective intelligence of honeybees (Prof. Dr. Thomas Dyer Seeley, Cornell University/USA).

The full program including all speakers can be found at:

An Interview with Prof. Dr. Ruth Ley can be found at:

An Interview with Dr. Melina Schuh can be found at (PDF, page 8):

The symposium is open to all interested parties and will be held in English. Participation is free of charge. Prior registration is required via the following link:


If you, as a journalist, would like to attend this event, please register by email at:

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About the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

As the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina provides independent science-based policy advice on matters relevant to society. To this end, the Academy develops interdisciplinary statements based on scientific findings. In these publications, options for action are outlined; making decisions, however, is the responsibility of democratically legitimized politicians. The experts who prepare the statements work in a voluntary and unbiased manner. The Leopoldina represents the German scientific community in the international academy dialogue. This includes advising the annual summits of Heads of State and Government of the G7 and G20 countries. With 1,600 members from more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina combines expertise from almost all research areas. Founded in 1652, it was appointed the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2008. The Leopoldina is committed to the common good.

Dr. Henning Steinicke
Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

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