Young Life Scientists in Protein Evolution and Engineering

Guest blogger: Nicole Timms (Conference Organizer)

During my PhD I have always been really excited about science communication and engagement so an opportunity to host a symposium in my research area wasn’t to be missed.  After recruiting a team of PhD students and a young PostDoc we set about putting together an application and we were delighted to be accepted.

The Leeds University Business School has a great open plan conference centre which we decided would be the perfect setting for our conference, entitled ‘Protein Evolution and Engineering: From Research to the Real World’. We had already had some ideas about the keynotes lectures and were pleasantly surprised that on approaching Professor Dan Tawfik and Professor Don Hilvert they were happy to accept our invitation, and hugely excited to be supporting a group of young scientists in organising the conference.

When the night before the conference finally came round we met with the keynote lecturers for dinner and ran through a few last minute details. The following morning, with a lot of nervous energy, the conference really got under way. We were delighted to have nearly 100 delegates turn up and 35 posters on display. The day had three talk sessions, two poster presentation slots and three interactive workshops on different topics giving everyone a choice of workshop to attend. Finally we ended the day with a drinks reception and a very informal conference BBQ. The committee were overwhelmed by the support we received and the positive comments we received from the delegates.

Overall, although it was a lot of work, the committee enjoyed the whole experience. It was fantastic to get a real insiders view on the whole process and we thrived on the challenge. As early career scientists the experience has broadened our horizons and really shown us what we can do if we pull together as a team and set our minds to it! The quality of the science on the day was fantastic and we would like to thank every delegate that made the journey and came to support the conference. We’d also especially like to thank the Biochemical Society for giving us the opportunity and supporting us along the way as well as our sponsors and of course Professors Dan Tawfik and Donald Hilvert for their time and inspiring words.

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