By Grace Hallinan
A personal account of a first year PhD student!
On Wednesday 1st July, the Centre for Biological Sciences held their annual Postgraduate Symposium, in which the research of Southampton’s biology PhD students in their second and third years was showcased to both peers and staff alike. This yearly event is the centrepiece of the research students’ academic year, and brings together the biological community both intellectually and socially. This year’s symposium was a great opportunity for all to hear of the exciting research being undertaken by the students here at CfBS.
The day began with talks from researchers in the third year of their PhD, and was opened with a lively talk from Mike Allwright on his research into bioenergy. This set us up for a morning of a contrasting variety of talks, from crystallography to microbiomes to epigenetics. The afternoon continued with a series of interesting and innovative talks covering a range of research topics such as DNA structures, Alzheimer’s disease and the effects of heavy metals on plants.
The talks were all presented at such a high standard that judging for prizes was a difficult decision by staff, but in the end the well-deserved awards went to James Fuller in third place for his talk on immunotherapies for Alzheimer’s disease, BSPS’s vice president Emily Farthing in second place for her enthusiastic talk on heavy metal homeostasis in plants, and in first place was Nick Evans for his talk on the regulatory mechanisms of zinc control in wheat. The poster prize was awarded to BSPS’s treasurer Sarmi Sri for her clear poster on cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.
The successful day was concluded with a wine ceremony, from where most of the students headed for a sunny outdoor beer by Stags, and onto a delicious 3-course meal (and many, many cocktails!) in Coco Rio; a meal that was kindly subsidised by Grad School. Overall, the day was a fantastic networking experience for students and a great opportunity to hear about our colleagues and friends research progress.
This year’s symposium was my first year in attendance, and I was truly impressed by the standard of both the oral presentations and posters. It was fascinating to hear of the other research being conducted by the other biology PhD students – a nice change from my neuroscience bubble in which I am usually submerged! I look forward to hearing the current 2nd years speak about their work next year, and seeing my own 1st year colleagues’ posters, along with presenting my own poster alongside them at the 2016 symposium.
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