Amy Tooke Archive

North East Postgraduate Conference 2016

By Amy Tooke

On 24th and 25th November the North East Postgraduate Conference was held at the Great North Museum. It is organised by and for postgraduate students, and I was excited to go, especially as it was my first conference!

On Thursday morning I went to Professor Jenny Read’s talk “3D Vision in man, mantis and machine”, about her work in the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, on the mechanisms of 3D vision and its applications, such as in drone technology. I found Professor Read’s talk really interesting and entertaining. We got given 3D glasses so we could see the concepts being demonstrated to us and heard about how praying mantises have their own mini 3D glasses put on so that their perception of moving targets can be studied.

After coffee we headed over to the student presentations on Cell and Molecular Biology, where we heard about signal transduction in yeast, characterising Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, gene editing, developing therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in the heart, and using stem cells to treat a type of blindness. The talks were really engaging and it was great to hear about so many different areas of research.

On Friday I saw a talk from David Cork of Sirius Market Access “Why do science PhD graduates make good medical writers?”.  Sometimes when you’re in the university bubble you forget that there is a world of work for scientists outside of academia, so it was useful to think about what other skills can develop from a PhD.

Then I went to the student Microbiology presentations, which I’d been looking forward to as I’m a microbiologist. Students from several universities presented their work on a wide range of topics, from catalytic enzyme activities in the pathogen Staphyloccus Aureus to finding a target to use to diagnose pregnant mothers carrying Streptococcus so they don’t pass it onto their newborns.

Professor Stephen Hart from UCL GOS Institute of Child Health spoke about his research on using gene editing to develop treatments for cystic fibrosis; he explained how the team has been finding new ways to target the therapy to the lungs using nanoparticles. It was wonderful to hear about advances being made in this area of medicine and hopes for its future applications.

I went to the conference with some other MRes students, and we were really inspired hearing about the research going on around us from the student talks and looking at the posters. It’s really spurred us on to get back in the lab and start our own research projects!

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