Report on the 12th meeting of the Network for Young Researchers in Andrology (NYRA)

This year’s NYRA meeting, 23rd – 24th of September 2019, was held adjacent to the 6thWorkshop of Molecular Andrology and the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Urology in Giessen, Germany. The audience included Master students, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and even a few group leaders. In total, our two-day seminar series was attended by 40 participants representing 15 different countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland.

Figure 1: Dr. Humphrey Yao (left) and Dr. Adrian Pilatz (right).

Held at the Historical Medical Faculty of Giessen, participants started to gather around noon of September 23rd to get settled before the beginning of our plenary session. As our first scientific talk, Dr. Humphrey Yao, leader of the Reproductive Developmental Biology Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina (USA) inspired our young andrologists with his works on sex differentiation and his talk on “Revisiting the Jost Paradigm on the Sex Differentiation of Mammalian Reproductive Tracts”. Dr. Adrian Pilatz, clinician and dedicated andrologist at the department of Urology in Giessen, was next to introduce the hurdles in the communication between basic and clinical researchers and how a successful cooperation between the two can be made possible.

Figure 2: A glimpse into the gala dinner evening at the Âu Lac.

After fruitful and lively discussions, the first day ended with a delicious 3-course menu at the Âu Lac restaurant right at the riverside of the Lahn.

The second day began with our NYRA Award session, where Dr. Julie Cocquet from the public research organisation INSERM in France, was awarded for her outstanding and inspiring career. Being the first woman to receive the NYRA award, Dr. Cocquet presented her latest research on “Sex chromosomes and epigenetic regulation during sperm differentiation”. Her talk was followed by our popular scientific speed dating, in which people got better acquainted and had the chance to vote for the most popular scientist among the participants.

Figure 3: NYRA Award winner Dr. Julie Cocquet (left) and the winners of the ISA travel grants and the most popular scientist award (right): Mr. David Fleck, Mr. Samuel Young, Ms. Sangeeta Kumari, and Ms. Nupur Khera.

Towards the end of our second day, David Fleck (RWTH Aachen University, Germany), Samuel Young (WWU Muenster, Germany), and Sangeeta Kumari (University of Hyderabad, India) were awarded with ISA travel grants for best abstract, best oral presentation, and best poster presentation, respectively. Moreover, Nupur Khera (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) was voted the most popular scientist by the majority of participants during the scientific speed date.

Figure 4: Prof. Christophe Arnoult (left) and handover to the adjacent 6th Workshop on molecular Andrology (right).

Thereafter, Prof. Christophe Arnoult of the Université Grenobles Alpes (France) inspired participants in a keynote lecture with the presentation of his work on sperm deficiencies and how they impact on male infertility. His talk concluded the 12th NYRA meeting and announced the start of the 6th Workshop of Molecular Andrology.

The board of NYRA would like to thank all of our invited speakers and the participants for attending this meeting! Also, we would like to thank our sponsors, the 12th NYRA meeting was made possible thanks to support from the International Society of Andrology, the European Academy of Andrology, the European Sperm Bank, the Male Contraceptive Initiative and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

Now we are looking forward to meeting you again soon at our next NYRA meeting being held in beautiful Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Girona, Spain!