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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


The first University of Cambridge BBSRC DTP Symposium was 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 was be opened by Prof. Chris Smith, PI for the DTP scheme. We are delighted that keynote talks were 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.

Representatives from organisations who have in the past hosted PIPS placements were also in attendance, to allow first- and second-year students to discuss potential placements. View the list of organisations who attended.


We are deeply grateful to BASF, who sponsored the prizes for best talk and best poster. Thanks to their generosity, the winner of each received an Apple iPad, with runners-up prizes of John Lewis vouchers. For talks, first prize went to Timothy Jenkins, second prize to Simon Chen, and third prize to Becky Martin. For posters, first prize went to Kirsty Mackinlay, second prize to Marta Tomaselli and third prize to Jake Moscrop.


 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): Bypassing the cold-chain: Evaluation of PODS technology as a novel vaccine delivery platform
  • Timothy Jenkins (4th year, Veterinary Medicine, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Longitudinal changes in the gut microbiome of human volunteers with remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis following experimental infection with the hookworm, Necator americanus
  • Anna Platoni (3rd year, Plant Science, Agriculture & Food Security): Testing the ‘Pay-back’ hypothesis in the field:  Can bumblebee pollination ‘rescue’ seed production in CMV-infected tomato plants?
  • Prof. Chris Abell, University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research: Perspectives from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor
10.40am Coffee and fruit
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): Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Tendon Cells to Help Guide Therapies for Tendon Injuries in the Horse
  • Maxime Couturier (4th year, Chemistry, Industrial Biotechnology & Bioenergy): Mutasynthesis of novel prodiginines derived from the antibiotic prodigiosin by exploiting substrate specificity of H2MAP oxidases PigB and HapB
  • Simon Chen (2nd year, Zoology, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Control of silk production in caterpillars: a behavioural trade-off between attachment and resource availability
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): Antimicrobial Stapled Peptide-Drug Conjugates
  • Matthew Harris (4th year, Pharmacology, Bioscience for Health): Allosteric Modulation of the Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide Receptor
  • Rebecca Martin (3rd year, Pathology, Agriculture & Food Security): Classical MHC allele diversity and distribution in chicken populations worldwide
3.15pm Coffee and fruit
3.45pm Session 4
  • Samuel Kidman (4th year, Sanger Institute, Bioscience for Health): Comparative genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in cystic fibrosis
  • Maya Petek (4th year, Biochemistry, IBBE): Exploring insertions and deletions for directed evolution
  • Diljeet Gill (3rd year, Babraham, World-Class Underpinning Bioscience): Examining the DNA methylation age reset that occurs during iPSC reprogramming
  • Professor Jane Clarke FRS, President of Wolfson College: A Scientific Life
  • Closing remarks and presentation of prize for Best Talk
5.30pm Poster session
6.45pm Pre-dinner drinks (Wren Cloisters, Trinity College)
  • Dinner (Great Hall, Trinity College) (Dress code: come as you are - there is no need to change into suits!)
  • 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 attempted to reduce the ecological impact of the Symposium as far as possible; delegate packs were be provided electronically, all food was vegetarian or vegan, and ingredients were sourced in as sustainable way as possible.