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ISMB London Postgraduate Symposium provides stimulating arena for sharing host-pathogen research

Insightful presentations and informal discussion opportunities result in resoundingly positive feedback for this second symposium.

ISMB London Postgraduate Symposium provides stimulating arena for sharing host-pathogen research

The Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology hosted the '2nd London Postgraduate Symposium on Pathogen Host Response' at Birkbeck on Friday 27th November 2015.

More than sixty postgraduate Masters and PhD students attended from ten different institutions across London and beyond. This meeting followed on from the inaugural symposium which was held in 2014 at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection at Imperial College London.These meetings are organised by students for students to foster communication between London-based postgraduate students in the field of host-pathogen interactions in a relaxed atmosphere, and to provide the opportunity to present their work outside their own institution.

Stimulating presentations and discussions

Keynote presentations were given by two ISMB-based postdoctoral researchers, Dr Maud Dumoux (Dr Richard Hayward’s group) and Dr Manuela Hospenthal (Professor Gabriel Waksman’s group) highlighting both cellular and structural studies of pathogen-host interactions ongoing at Birkbeck. Dr Anthony Roberts, a Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow based at Birkbeck, also kindly assisted with judging the poster prize. The students were welcomed to Birkbeck by Professor Gabriel Waksman, the Director of the ISMB, and we were delighted to be joined by Dr Naomi Attar an Associate Editor from Nature Reviews Microbiology.

Prizes for the best talk and poster were awarded by Nature Reviews Microbiology to Courtney Boyd (Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London) and Chris Furniss (MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection, Imperial College London), respectively.

The superb oral presentations stimulated insightful questions and lively discussions which continued during the poster session in the afternoon. Attendee feedback was again overwhelmingly positive: ‘Overall great quality speakers’, ‘The range of disciplines was impressive as it caters for both medically-minded and scientifically-minded individuals’, ‘Great to have a student led format’. The meeting was co-organised by three final year ISMB PhD students Eleanor McMahon (ISMB Wellcome Trust programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology), Charlotte Ford and Oliver Martin (both ISMB MRC programme in Macromolecular Machines of Biomedical Significance) all from Dr Richard Hayward’s group.

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge generous financial support from the Birkbeck Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund, The Company of Biologists, The Microbiology Society and Zeiss, without which it would not have been possible to host the symposium. The search is now beginning for another London institution to take the baton and host the 3rd meeting in 2016.

[Photo: Courtney Boyd and Chris Furniss, winners of best talk and best poster.]

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