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2024 SoCoBio Annual Research Conference

The 2024 SoCoBio DTP Annual Conference was held at the University of Kent on the 16-18 April 2024. A massive thanks to an awesome conference organising team. I (Dr Jenny Tullet, Academic lead for Kent and Wellbeing Lead for the DTP) chaired the committee but it was truly a SoCoBio community effort. The organisation, schedule and execution was superb.

The meeting offered opportunities for students to communicate their science, exchange research ideas and share their training activities and was a fantastic 3-days of science networking and activities to support wellbeing. The conference schedule included guest speakers (from industry and academia), posters (Yr 3 students), “3-minute thesis style presentations” (Yr 2 students), 10-minute talks (Yr 4 students), a Wellbeing session, a Q&A session and as always prizes for best talks and posters. In addition, this year we organised a networking quiz for students to practice and develop their networking skills.

Thank you to our guest speakers for their inspiring presentations: Dr Ciro Chiappini, Kings College London, talk title “Nanotechnologies for Cell Manipulation”, Sara Rankin, Imperial College London, talk title “I did it my way: An unconventional path to success in academia”, Michelle Marin Chao, Nutri-San, talk title”Dreams, Goals and Impact: Scaling and Commercialising a Seaweed Technology Company”, Renos Savva, Discovery Park, talk title “Spun out on Research – a Translators Journey”, Tobias Von der Haar, University of Kent, talk title “UKRI and ICURe funding opportunities”, Diego Gomez-Nicola, University of Southampton, talk title “There and back again: a tale about research in academia and industry.” Thank you to our conference sponsors: The Royal Society, Biochemical Society, Novogene, Promega, Brand, BGI, Trozonx17, Scientific Laboratory Supplies.

Congratulations to our prize winners: 3 min talk Day 1: Anastasia Kolesnikova (Southampton), 3 min talk Day 2: William Edwards (Kent), 10 min talk day 1: Letitia McMullan (Sussex), 10 min talk day 2: Johanna Haszczyn (Southampton), Poster day 1: Thomas Paige (Kent), Poster day 2: Noviann McClean (Kent), Networking quiz: Courteney Pienaar (Sussex).

Most importantly, this year’s conference was made possible by the hard work and dedication of our students. An interesting and stimulating scientific programme was developed by Johanna Fish (University of Southampton) who did an excellent job inviting and keeping our external speakers happy and well cared for; Matthew Shaw and Oya Canik (University of Kent) did an awesome job of pulling together the joining instructions and making sure that your accommodation, lecture theatres and poster boards were booked, and importantly that food and drinks were provided in good quantities and at the right times! The hard cash was brought in by the work of Anastasia Kolesnikova (University of Southampton) who worked hard to engage with all of our sponsors, persuading them to pay for the opportunity to attend the meeting and boosting our budget to allow us to pay for networking events, travel for external speakers and generally demonstrating to businesses the amazing projects and work being carried out by the DTP. And special thanks to wellbeing champions Molly Rutt and Jamie Thomas who organised a great social activity despite road works and weather not going in our favour. All of these students kept me on my toes with excellent questions during the planning meetings. They really had the best interests of all our attendees at heart and were key to the whole event.

Finally, a big thank you to the academic and support staff who contributed to this endeavour: Sandra Dancer, whose continuous work supports the DTP. Sandra is a mine of knowledge and works with all staff and students to keep things running smoothly; Daniel Osorio who stepped in at the last minute to run the thesis writing workshop; Mark Wass, Mark Shepherd, Marina Ezcurra, Becky Hall, Anastasios Tsaousis; Jose Ortega-Roldan and Anja Godfrey (University of Kent); Rohan Lewis and Vincent O’Connor (University of Southampton), Eleftheria Stavridou (NIAB), and Matt Guille (University of Portsmouth).

Written by Jenny Tullet (University of Kent)

Find out more about our students and their research by visiting our ‘meet our student‘ webpage.