BMS Postdoc Away Day – 24th June 2011
By Katie Fisher
The third instalment of annual Postdoc Away Days took place at the end of June this year, and was enjoyed by the numerous BMS Postdocs who attended. Breaking with tradition, the keynote lecture was the first talk of the day and was given by Professor Anthony Ryan, who agreed to stop by on his way to Glastonbury!
As Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, he introduced us to Project Sunshine and his vision for the Faculty; an accumulation of research, spanning scientific departments with a common focus of investigating ways to combat the growing energy and food needs of the planet, in addition to studying the implications of global environment change. His infectious passion and enthusiasm for the project was evident throughout his talk, and prepared everyone for a great day of science, whilst instilling the motto, “Plastic is precious because it’s buried sunlight.”
A plethora of postdoc talks were next on the agenda, covering research using both the fish and fly models of Parkinson’s Disease, stem cells and their behaviour in culture, and the study of neutrophils in wound healing. An undertone of careers advice ran throughout the day, and was greatly appreciated by all; ranging from how to be successful in fellowship applications, teaching experience and training possibilities and how to cope with parenthood as a postdoc. Jess, from Understanding Animal Research, described a selection of skills and tools to apply when explaining animal research to the general public and school children in particular. The choice between killing 10 people or 100 dogs was a favourite analogy to address the moral dilemmas facing all animal researchers. David Bulmer was our second keynote speaker of the day, whose talk gave insight to how he had bridged the gap during his career in academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
Taking advantage of the rare summery weather, albeit only temporarily, we headed back to Firth Court to a delicious barbeque cooked up by the PhD minions students. With a burger and a beer in hand we chatted into the small hours about the wonders of science and the possibilities of groundbreaking research ahead of us. Or not. Bring on the next away day!