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The University of Cambridge BBSRC DTP Symposium will be held on Thursday 11 July 2019 at St John's College, Cambridge, showcasing research from students across all four years of their PhD, talks from invited speakers, and networking opportunities with industry representatives. 

The day will be opened by Prof. Chris Smith, PI for the DTP scheme. We are delighted that keynote talks will be given by Prof. Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Seth Scanlon, Associate Editor (Immunology) of Science magazine and Prof. Jane Clarke, President of Wolfson College. We will also be joined at dinner by Julian Huppert, former MP for Cambridge. 

We will be inviting representatives from organisations who have in the past hosted PIPS placements, to allow first- and second-year students to discuss potential placements. View the list of organisations who have confirmed to date.

The symposium is a key networking event for the DTP, and all students from all BBSRC DTP cohorts are expected to attend. The event is being centrally funded so there will be no charge against student research grants for attendance.


We are deeply grateful to BASF, who are sponsoring the prizes for best talk and best poster. Thanks to their generosity, the winner of each will receive an Apple iPad. 


Please note that this programme is currently provisional and subject to change.

 8.30am Registration, coffee and pastries
9am Session 1
  • Welcome by Prof. Chris Smith, PI for the DTP
  • Anna Yakovleva (3rd year, Pathology, Industrial Biotechnology & Bioenergy): Cold-chain independent vaccines against important human pathogens
  • Timothy Jenkins (4th year, Veterinary Medicine, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Therapeutic use of hookworm parasites to improve gut microbial diversity
  • Anna Platoni (3rd year, Plant Science, Agriculture & Food Security): Exploring the ‘pay back hypothesis’ of plant viruses attracting pollinators
  • Presentation from Prof. Chris Abell, University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research
10.40am Coffee and biscuits
11.10am Session 2
  • Tom Reynolds (3rd year, NIAB, Agriculture & Food Security): The faba bean pathogen B. fabae reproduces sexually in the UK
  • Yasmin Paterson (3rd year, Veterinary Medicine, Bioscience for Health): The role of scleraxis in adult and foetal tenocytes
  • Maxime Couturier (4th year, Chemistry, Industrial Biotechnology & Bioenergy): Biosynthesis of Gram-positive antimicrobial prodiginines
  • Simon Chen (2nd year, Zoology, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Locomotion, silk production behaviour, and attachment forces in caterpillars
12.30pm Lunch and networking
1.45pm Session 3
  • Presentation from Dr Seth Scanlon, Associate Editor (Immunology), Science Magazine
  • Josie Gaynord (3rd year, Chemistry, Bioscience for Health): Stapled antimicrobial peptides for selective small molecule delivery
  • Matthew Harris (4th year, Pharmacology, Bioscience for Health): First GIPR modulator with potential therapeutic use in Type 2 diabetes
  • Rebecca Martin (3rd year, Pathology, Agriculture & Food Security): MHC diversity in chicken flocks
3.15pm Coffee and biscuits
3.45pm Session 4
  • Samuel Kidman (4th year, Sanger Institute, Bioscience for Health): GWAS of the cystic fibrosis lung pathogen P. aeruginosa
  • Maya Petek (4th year, Biochemistry, IBBE): Fitness landscapes of mutated proteins
  • Diljeet Gill (3rd year, Babraham, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Resetting DNA methylation age
  • Presentation from Professor Jane Clarke FRS, President of Wolfson College
  • Closing remarks and presentation of prize for Best Talk
5.30pm Poster session
6.45pm Pre-dinner drinks (Wren Cloisters, Trinity College)
  • Formal dinner (Great Hall, Trinity College)
  • Presentation of prize for Best Poster
  • Guest speaker: Dr Julian Huppert, former MP for Cambridge, University Lecturer in Physics and Director of the Jesus College Intellectual Forum

We will be attempting to reduce the ecological impact of the Symposium as far as possible; delegate packs will be provided electronically, all food will be vegetarian or vegan, and ingredients will be sourced in as sustainable way as possible.


Can I present a talk or poster? 
We now have our speakers finalised. We still have a few slots for posters; if you're interested, please get in touch with the organising committee by email

Do I have to attend?
The symposium is a key event in the DTP calendar and it is expected that all students from all cohorts attend the full day's seminar. Valid reasons for non-attendance include being on a PIPS placement or an already-booked holiday; 'I want to spend another day in the lab' and 'I want to spend the day writing' are not valid reasons for non-attendance. Holding such an event is expensive; we reserve the right to charge students' PIs for non-attendance if a student has previously indicated they will attend. Attendance at the dinner will not be compulsory, but we hope that all those attending the symposium will be able to join us.

Who is organising the symposium?
The symposium is a student-organised event; you can get in touch with the organising committee by email