Medicinal Physics / Biophysics – a MINT-EC Camp Experience at the University of Regensburg, Germany
Alongside 18 other students from various German-speaking schools, we were allowed the opportunity to attend the “MINT-EC” or “STEM” Camp in Regensburg, Germany from September 22 through 25. The camp took place under the headline "Medizinphysik – Biophysik,” or “Medicinal Physics – Biophysics.” The four-day program presented excellent insights into a wide variety of topics, which spanned all the way from programming to nuclear medicine and the practical applications of emerging technology in disease diagnostics.
The scheduled program began with all of us getting to know each other through an array of games. Next we were given a comprehensive overview of the history of medicine in a typical medieval city during a tour of the impressive town of Regensburg. When we arrived back at the hostel, we first made our beds and then discussed the selection of topics which awaited us over the course of the following days.
The second day of the program started with the opportunity to visit the “BioPark Regensburg” where we listened to a presentation by the company’s lead manager that included interesting applications of biotechnology in the field of medicine. Following this, we visited the physics department of the University of Regensburg. There, among other activities we built and programmed our own pulse sensor with the help of an Arduino microcomputer!
We spent the third day at the University Clinic Regensburg. We started out at radiotherapy where different treatment options for cancers and tumors were explained to us. We continued with nuclear medicine; there we learned how distinct types of cancer, such as thyroid diseases and cardiovascular cancer are diagnosed and then treated. Different technical devices, such as SPECT and PET/ CT (MRI) were than presented and their function explained to us. Then we continued to the department of internal medicine of the clinic and polyclinic. We were taught about ultrasound, endoscopy, EKG and first aid measures, which we were even able to try out for ourselves. At the end the hospital employees invited us to join them for pizza.
On the last day we visited the university’s chemistry department where we analyzed and synthesized drugs through experiments at several stations. Our last stop took us back to the department of Physics again. The use of the various kinds of lasers was explained to us by means of several experiments. Lastly, certificates of successful participation in an MINT Camp were distributed.
Overall, the MINT EC camp was fascinating, informative and a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity to get in touch with other STEM students, university staff, doctors and other specialists. In addition, it was very helpful in our search of study and career choices, because it revealed insights into different areas.
We highly recommend that students interested in sciences participate in MINT EC Camps such as this one!
By: Ann-July E. (11a) and Sebastian S. (11a)