Postdoctoral researchers celebrated at Dunn School Postdoc Symposium

Postdoctoral researchers celebrated at Dunn School Postdoc Symposium

Each year, postdoctoral researchers at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology organise a one-day symposium to feature their latest research progress. The 2018 edition of the Postdoc Symposium took place on Thursday 15th of March, where 28 postdocs from different groups within the department shared their research through presentations and posters.

The work presented by the speakers ranged from the description of a new method of quickly determining DNA replication timing to a practical demonstration of the latest technologies in super-resolution microscopy. In addition to the general benefits of presenting—which include gaining experience, feedback and the initiation of scientific discussion—there were two special awards for best poster and talk. The poster prize (£100) was awarded to Dr. Marjorie Fournier (Esashi lab), while the oral presentation prize (£250) was awarded to Dr. Johanna Pott (Maloy lab). Johanna also received the prize of a free video-feature detailing her science that will be produced by Voices from Oxford.

"The scientific talks and discussions at the postdoc symposium were excellent and gave great insight into the research of fellow postdocs. I really enjoyed the day!" said Johanna Pott, winner of the oral presentation prize. 

The organisation of the symposium was fantastic, together with an excellent scientific programme. I have had extremely fruitful discussions while presenting my work and found the talks from the invited speakers very inspirational” said Marjorie Fournier, winner of the poster prize.

A valuable addition to the programme (now for the second year) were the two external speakers, who were invited to give a talk on their research, while sharing insights into their own academic journey. Professor Victoria Cowling from the University of Dundee spoke about how mRNA cap structures can affect gene expression and cell physiology, while Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga from Imperial College London intertwined her own research on intestinal neurons with advice on having the guts for academia. Prof. Miguel-Aliaga was positive about the reach of the symposium and its organization by the postdocs, describing it as "a great way to present one’s work and interact in a more relaxed environment with postdocs across the department, beyond just the ones in the lab next door”. A twist in the programme showcased a brief interlude of group leaders of the Department giving "one sentence life advice," which included a variety of sensible and humorous suggestions!

The event was well supported by eight sponsors: 2BScientific, Absolute Antibody, Cambridge Bioscience, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, ProImmune, Proteintech, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Twist Bioscience. Interactions were encouraged by a 'sponsor passport' which, when all sponsors had been signed off, entered the attendee into a prize draw for an Amazon gift voucher. The all-day event was organised by a team of postdocs themselves: Dr Martin Reichhardt (Lea group), Dr Hazel Hall-Roberts (James group), Dr Mubeen Goolam (Robertson group), Dr Samuel Dean (Gull group), Dr Adam Grieve (Freeman group), Dr Antonio Ariza (I. Ahel group) and Dr Elena Burlacu (Cader group at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). In addition to preparation of the event, they also took turns chairing sessions.

The chair, Martin Reichhardt, commented "As organizers, we sought to make the 2018 Postdoc Symposium a prestigious event to be chosen for. We were therefore happy to see such amazing science being presented at the Dunn School. This highlights that we should be proud to share our findings, not just with each other, but also with the wider community as well."

Read the coverage that the Oxford Mail newspaper gave of the event at: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/16034881.

Read and hear more on the Voices from Oxford cover of the 2018 Postdoc Symposium here: http://voicesfromoxford.org/video/dunn-school-post-doc-academic-symposium-2018/844

Written by Heather Jeffery and Derek Xu

Friday, March 23, 2018 - 10