Early career researcher success in Southampton and Cambridge

Working with our network of Regional Champions this June, the Academy was delighted to be part of the second annual Southampton Medical and Health Research Conference, and to host an afternoon of discussion and networking for Fellows and early career researchers in Cambridge.

Southampton

Southampton’s second annual Medical and Health Research Conference brought together over 300 staff and students to celebrate local research over two days on 6-7 June. The Academy, working with South East Regional Champion Professor Stephen Holgate CBE FMedSci, sponsored the conference’s prize for Best Overall Publication, open to early career researchers from across biomedical and health research. 

We were delighted that the Best Overall Publication award was won by Dr Patrick Stumpf, a postdoctoral research fellow working in the University of Southampton’s Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration. His paper, ‘Stem cell Differentiation as a Non-Markov Stochastic Process’, featured as the front cover article of Cell Systems and has attracted significant international attention, being presented at events in Japan, China, Switzerland, Germany and the USA.

Professor Ben MacArthur, Professor of Quantitative Biology at the University of Southampton, commented: “Patrick’s paper has helped open up a whole new research area on the physics of living matter, using both experiment and mathematics to propose a general theory for cellular differentiation of widespread importance.

“The work combines high-throughput single cell profiling with methods from machine learning, statistical mechanics and information theory to dissect the dynamics of stem cells as they differentiate to neural progenitors. It was many years in the making and Patrick played a central role at every stage of the process – a particularly significant achievement considering the diversity of methods used.”

The keynote conference lecture was delivered by our President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, speaking about the UK’s strengths in biomedical research.

The following day, the Academy’s career development team built on the conference’s success with a workshop on ‘Building your career in a research team’, where 60 early career researchers came together to discuss topics including ensuring recognition in team science projects and work-life balance.

Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly FRS FMedSci presenting the keynote lecture on metabolic disease at the afternoon of networking and discussion for Fellows and early career researchers in Cambridge.

Cambridge

Work-life balance discussions were also on the table afternoon of networking and discussions hosted in Cambridge on 11 June by East Anglia Regional Champion Professor Mary Dixon-Woods FMedSci, Director of THIS Institute. The event celebrated the diversity of knowledge from the Fellows in the room, as they hosted table discussions on topics  from collaborations to part-time PhDs. The day also offered workshops on key skills for a research career, including a session on patient and public involvement from Joann Leeding of THIS Institute.

Professor Dixon-Woods invited early career researchers to submit entries for the Academy of Medical Sciences East Anglia Fellows Visual Abstract Award, looking to celebrate high-quality research and clear visual communication.  

The award was won by Dr Clare Oliver-Williams, Junior Research Fellow in Public Health, University of Cambridge. Her design clearly conveys the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life for pregnant women who have hypertension or pre-eclampsia, and is available to view and download on the side on this page.  

Fellows and early career researchers finished the day with a keynote lecture from Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly FRS FMedSci, Director of the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories (see picture above), including the “sodden bathroom carpet model” of obesity, and recommendations on getting slim from Hippocrates!

 

Visit our website for more information on the Academy’s Regional Champions, and a calendar of upcoming Academy events around the UK.

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