Comments Off on HBA-USA Forum: Careers in Biosciences – Embassy of Greece in Washington DC
More than 50 scientists from different disciplines, diplomats, as well as students in the presence of the Greek Ambassador attended the HBA-USA forum at the Embassy of Greece in Washington DC. The event focused inter alia on exploring different ways for career possibilities in the United States.
Demetrius Albanes, MD, from NIH/NCI gave a presentation on cancer epidemiology, while highlighting the numerous opportunities that exist within the NIH and NCI for internships and fellowships for Greek students and young professionals working in life sciences. He volunteered to support the HBA- initiated student internship program (SIP).
Vassilis E. Koliatsos, MD, MBA, from Johns Hopkins University, made a strong case about the negative effects of brain drain to the economy, using the specific example of Greece. He welcomed initiatives that could help stopping brain drain from Greece. Dr Koliatsos also emphasized the need for a strong network in the USA in order to strengthen the interaction of Greeks in the USA. Dr Koliatsos also talked about the multimillion-dollar collaborative initiative between the JHU and the University of Patras that he has established and talked about the opportunities for internships or fellowships via the Libra program. During the panel discussion, Dr Koliatsos also mentioned that while some of the Greek students are exceptional, there are also several others whose educational level is low and urged the Greek universities to make reforms in order to improve their standards.
Nikolaos P Paschalidis, PhD, NASA/GFSC discussed about NASA and the several projects he has been involved in the past years. He suggested that people in Greece should take advantage of every possible opportunity to make the most with their lives. He also urged Greek scientists to get additional training abroad through fellowships and scholarships.
Mihail Lionakis, MD, ScD, and Irini Sereti, MD both of NIH/NIAID elaborated on their career path and the difficulties that they faced early during their careers while in Greece. Through their experience, they both concluded that hard work, supportive mentors and experience as a volunteer in a hospital or research institute in the United States can maximize the chances one might have for a career in life sciences in the USA.
– Mr Art Dimopoulos from the National Hellenic Society provided critical comments about the limited opportunities that Greek MDs might have in Greece and emphasized the need for reforms. He has been also happy to join forces with the HBA in order to make American networks more effective and impactful.
– Mr Leon Stavrou from The Next Generation Initiative congratulated the work of HBA-USA and emphasized the need to take a more systematic work in order to maximize the impact of the HBA network and its programs.
– Representatives from the Greek Embassy stressed their positive surprise about the outcome of the event and suggested to establish an annual forum on the same or similar topic at the Greek Embassy in DC. (click for the press release after the forum from the US Embassy of Greece)
Overall, all participants agreed on the importance of establishing a mentoring program from established Greek scholars to support Greek students and young professionals. The potential to create funding opportunities for collaboration between US and Greek laboratories has been considered as an important unmet need that all interested parties would try to make it happen.
The HBA-USA President, Dr Costas Arvanitis presented the HBA-USA projects and participated.
The HBA-USA Secretary, Dr Elisavet Serti, who organized and moderated the Forum, presented the HBA-USA Association and described the HBA’s mission and goals.
The Ambassador of Greece H.E Christos Panagopoulos delivered welcoming remarks at the beginning of the event at the Embassy of Greece in Washington DC.