This year marked the 20th anniversary of the international graduate program MBML. The annual retreat, hosted in Rauischholzhausen Castle, is an opportunity for our PhD candidates to present their research in progress in front of an audience. For the lung development and bronchopulmonary dysplasia session, we had our student Ali Khadim (Prof. El Agha research group) present his research in progress about the role of mesenchymal stem cells in lung development and repair. PhD student Mohammad Estiri also presented his research about how outer membrane vesicles of Klebsiella pneumoniae decrease the bactericidal properties of alveolar macrophages. In the session of lung inflammation and acute lung injury, PhD student Georgios Kiliaris (Prof. El Agha research group) presented his work on the mobilization of mesenchymal niches in influenza virus-induced lung injury. Our first-year PhD students, Mahsa Zabihi and Mahtab Felordi (both from the research group of Prof. El Agha) also did a great job at the poster session, with Mahsa winning the first ever MBML Poster Award! Prof. Susanne Herold was also present at the retreat, opening the lung inflammation and acute lung injury session, with a talk about host-directed therapies in ARDS – a journey of ups and downs.