Mentorship, Companionship and Friendship in Lindau

Francisco Barrera-Flores is a Lindau Alumnus from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico. In this article, he shares his experience at this year's 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to physiology and medicine.


The 68th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting was by far one of the best academic meetings I have had in my scientific career. I had the opportunity to meet the most influential scientists of the world of today – Nobel Laureates – and of tomorrow – young scientists. 

Lindau Alumnus Frank Berrera and Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz.
Lindau Alumnus Frank Berrera and Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz Photo/Credit: Courtesy of Frank Berrera

The Nobel Laureates were, surprisingly for me and I think for all the participants, extremely available. Therefore, I had the opportunity to ask for input and advice from many of them. I interpreted this as a short and intense mentorship. Mentorship that leads young scientists to reflectively think and question our own working methods and scientific philosophy. Professor Martin Chalfie gave us, a small group of young scientists, some excellent advice: “Never think you know it all. Always try to maintain a certain mindset that allows you to keep yourself in constant learning.” Professor Stefan Hell encouraged us to always analyse scientific problems in a different way, to ask different and new questions, and to have an out-of-the-box way of thinking. Professor Robert Lefkowitz told us that we should never try to label ourselves as biologists, chemists, physicists, etc., categorising ourselves would put boundaries on our capacity to grow and learn new things. He also emphasised, as Professor Martin Chalfie did, to always try to learn new things and to never stop asking scientific questions. 

I had the opportunity to share knowledge, opinion, experiences, and even receive and give advice with some young scientists. Some discussions that I really liked where those that would naturally open up after the panel discussions. We had then the opportunity to express our opinions and share our background experience with peers. It turns out that every scientist, no matter in which scientific field, shares the same obstacles and concerns. In these moments, the heterogeneous fields of work would merge into homogeneous scientific discussions! This scientific companionship was great during the whole week. 

Lindau Alumnus Frank Berrera with other young scientists at #LINO18
Lindau Alumnus Frank Berrera (left) with other young scientists at #LINO18

This meeting also provided the occasion to create very good friendships. A more intimate relationship with scientific peers created the possibility of expressing my very own concerns about the future of my career. And they really helped me out by giving excellent, objective, and unbiased advice. Additionally, I am pretty sure that these new friendships will be long-lasting. 

My whole expectations for this meeting were definitely surpassed. This meeting creates a very rich environment for a culturally-diverse exchange of scientific knowledge, academic experience, every day worries, and struggles – and helps counteract the latter ones with advice and proposals for solutions. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings create an environment for deep reflection, huge networking, academic and personal growth. But most importantly, it creates an environment for mentorship, companionship, and friendship.

Would you like to share your memories of your Lindau Meeting? Former participants from all meetings can join the Lindau Alumni Network. 

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