The President of the Technische Universitat Darmstadt in Germany visited the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) on Jan. 30, 2009, as part of a three-day visit to Virginia Tech.

Hans Jürgen Prömel, who is both Technische Universität Darmstadt’s president and a professor, was accompanied by Professor Reiner Anderl, vice president of the university, and Professor Winfried Heinzel, who is the university’s director of international and external affairs.

The leadership team was given an overview of the activities of VBI as well as a guided tour of the building by Barry Whyte, VBI’s strategic and research communications officer. The tour included a visit to the Core Laboratory Facility where Clive Evans, associate director of VBI’s Core Laboratory Facility, demonstrated the Institute’s Roche GS-FLX™ next-generation sequencing technology.

The visit to VBI was part of a wider Virginia Tech–Technische Universität Darmstadt summit that took place from Jan. 28 through Jan. 31. During this time, Prömel gave a presentation at Virginia Tech’s International Affairs Office to staff and students entitled “Trends and Opportunities for International Collaboration”. On Saturday, Jan. 31 he also attended the first lecture of Kids’ Tech University, where Keith Devlin gave a talk entitled "Why are there animals with spotted bodies and striped tails, but no animal with a striped body and a spotted tail?" More than 400 children aged 8 to 12 attended the lecture, the first of its kind in the United States.

Devlin, known as "The Math Guy" on National Public Radio, is co-founder and executive director of Stanford's Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute.

During the Virginia Tech–Technische Universität Darmstadt summit, Prömel visited Virginia Tech’s System X supercomputer facility at the Corporate Research Center as well as other institutes and centers on campus. The visits were interspersed with several meetings with students and employees of the university, including Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger and his leadership team, to discuss joint initiatives with Virginia Tech.

The Technische Universität Darmstadt is one of Virginia Tech’s European strategic partner institutions.