International Summer School on Biocomplexity Recap



The 13th NSF International Summer School on Biocomplexity, Biodesign, and Bioinnova at Bogazici University in Istanbul in June brought together 27 students and six esteemed lecturers, all performing cutting-edge biological and bioengineering research. The main objective of the summer school was to expose the students to new approaches, challenges, and directions in biological and molecular engineering research and to accelerate the integration of these concepts. The conference promoted the understanding of highly complex, interconnected biological systems and facilitated collaborations among the participants and lecturers.

Given the dLUX Light Lab’s primary interest in the effects of the immediate environment on health outcomes, the International Summer School on Biocomplexity was a great opportunity to expose our research to those working in similar, but diverse, areas. I received useful feedback and interest in cross-disciplinary, inter-university research partnerships. In addition, the lectures and discussions greatly improved my knowledge and understanding of some of the most prominent cutting-edge biomedical developments.

Beyond academic activities, the summer school exposed participants to Turkey’s unique geography and cultural heritage as well as its role as a dynamic, modern society. This included exclusive tours of some of Istanbul’s most important treasures, a classical music concert, and a wide variety of fresh, regional culinary creations. The summer school itself took place near the beautiful beach town of Kilyos, situated at the northern tip of the Bosphorus, with several excursions into Istanbul. The organizers provided an abundance of lighthearted activities, parties, free time, and world cup watching to complement the deeply scientific material presented at the conference. The relationships formed at the summer school are more than professional, but strong enough to be considered long-lasting, close friendships.

The Biocomplexity Summer School experience contributes to Drexel’s global initiatives, including the facilitation of productive, mutually beneficial inter-university and international research collaboration, as well as the promotion of novel technologies to improve public health and overall well-being. Drexel’s current strategic plan highlights increased connections and collaborations with Turkey as a short-term goal. It is clear that the summer school organizers want to make Turkey a center for high-tech collaboration on biomedical research and development, and the relationships formed here are the first steps toward achieving this ambitious objective.