Erasmus+ Gastdozentur an der pharmazeutischen Fakultät der Universität Ankara, Türkei

Prof. Dr. med. Martin C. Michel, Institut für Pharmakologie

Ankara University, particularly its pharmaceutical faculty, and Johannes Gutenberg University, particularly its medical faculty, have an ongoing Erasmus partnership that has already been in existence for several years. While initially driven by an exchange of faculty, we have meanwhile received two students from Ankara in Mainz and presently one student from Mainz is in Ankara. Moreover, the previous exchanges of students and faculty led to joint research programs funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and its Turkish equivalent TÜBITAK.
As part of this very active partnership, I visited Ankara again in May 2022 for the teaching of a course on statistics for experimental life scientists, a course that otherwise is also offered in Mainz. Although a sound understanding of statistical approaches is considered critical for a robust design, conduct, analysis and reporting in the experimental life sciences, most pharmacy schools in Turkey are based in universities that have no biometrical/statistical department. Dedicated statistics courses for experimental life scientists apparently do not exist at any Turkish university. Therefore, the opportunity to attend such a course is highly appreciated by Turkish senior undergraduate and graduate students. The 2022 edition of this course was already the third one and has become highly popular. Therefore, the local organizer in Ankara (Prof. Ebru Arioglu-Inan) wanted to make the course also available to students from other universities within Turkey within the available number of participant slots. After having been advertised by the Turkish Pharmacological Society, we ultimately had participants from 10 different universities from all over Turkey.
The course covered various topics in a total of 16 h. A key element of the course is that most of the examples come from real data from present or previous PhD students of mine. To further enhance the direct applicability to their problems faced by the participants, each student was supposed to contribute a dataset and related (statistical) analysis question based on their own project. This element accounted for 20-30% of total teaching time and made for very lively interactions between teacher and students but also between the students. Given the participation from 10 different universities, the participants started an initiative to found a Young Pharmacologists group within the Turkish Pharmacological Society to further exchange and networking between them. The course was highly appreciated by the participants, and an invitation to repeat it in 2024 has already been expressed.
Other than the statistics course, the visit included a meeting with the dean of the pharmacy school in Ankara to discuss potential further deepening of the relationships between both institutions, a scientific lecture and several lovely dinners highlighting the wonderful hospitality of the Turkish colleagues and the delicacies of Turkish food that go so much further than we typically can sample in Germany.

Dinner with (left to right) Prof. Arioglu-Inan (local host), Gul Rakhmatova (Mainz student currently on Erasmus visit to Ankara), Kutay Kücükiyildiz and Öykü Bese (Ankara students) and myself