On Monday 18th November my department at the John Innes Centre, Molecular Microbiology, hosted a day of talks from ten up-and-coming scientists in the field. The majority of these were in the middle of a post-doctoral grant, others starting their post-doctoral training while a few were coming to the end of their PhD projects. The speakers travelled from the USA, mainland Europe and the UK to present their work to the audience.
It was obviously lovely to see some familiar faces giving talks and seeing what they are up to now. And at the same time, it was great to get an insight into what is happening in the research community outside of my area. A range of bacteria was spoken about from cell cycle models such as Caulobacter crescentus to previously uncultivated microbes in sea sponges. Some talks were mainly bioinformatics, which to be honest is not my strong point, and I have to admit, I did not completely understand… Others were on natural products and how to mine them from genomes – a field which is becoming increasing important. All in all, it was a good day with lots of new information learnt, as you always get from conferences!
Maybe we will see some of these scientists as project leaders one day – who knows? Or, maybe they will be joining the JIC soon possibly in more senior fellowship or group leader positions. It would be exciting to have some of their fantastic brains (and more nice people too) in our department! Or, on a more positive note, it is always nice to know that any one of the many PhD students in the JIC could be giving a talk at a symposium or at a conference, and maybe their future boss will be in that room!
By Rowena Fung, a 3rd year PhD in Jake Malone’s Group