Summer School in Shanghai

Kyle on Great WallAs part of our new International Associate Membership agreement with the Chinese Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (CSBMB), we helped four of our postgraduate members  attend  the  CSBMB’s Summer  School  in  Shanghai  in  July,  with  our  Society paying for travel and CSBMB covering registration and accommodation costs.

Kyle Fowler (University of Sheffield, UK) was one of the four, and reports on his experience:


“The 5th International Advanced Summer School was held in the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and this year the theme of the meeting was RNA biology. The success of the Institute is highlighted by two key achievements: the total synthesis of crystalline bovine insulin in 1965 and the total synthesis of yeast alanine tRNA in 1981.

During my flight to Shanghai I was slightly apprehensive about finding my way from Shanghai Pu-Dong Airport to the hotel; however all signs in the metro and railway stations had English translations allowing me to easily travel anywhere in Shanghai for around 40 pence.

Each day began with a lecture from a renowned researcher from either the University of Toronto or the University of Leuven. Topics such as: alternative splicing, RNAi, RNA binding motifs and computational biology were discussed. I particularly enjoyed the talk on Thursday morning by Dr. Quaid Morris, in which he discussed the application of computational biology to both predict RNA secondary structure and to model the binding of RNA binding proteins to their RNA target. Following his talk I was enlightened to the current challenges faced by the field, and especially the need to model the change in RNA secondary structure that occurs during the binding of an RNA binding protein.

After the lunch break PhD students and post docs were given the opportunity to present their work and receive expert advice from the guest speakers. The day was concluded with a detailed group discussion within small groups. The discussion tended to cover questions about the presented lecture material and personal issues with one’s project, however other topics such as the qualities required to become a professor were often brought up.

During one of the afternoons we were taken on a tour of the laboratories and it became clear to me that in addition to all of the facilities on site, across the river (Pudong area) in The National Centre for Protein Science Shanghai there has been a huge amount of money invested in equipment such as the TitanKrios, which is the most powerful electron microscope in the world.

Following the Summer School I travelled to Beijing with two other students, where we visited sites such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We also did a 6 kilometre hike along the Great Wall.

Overall, the Summer School was very well organised and covered a range of topics in the field of RNA biology. This was my first trip to China, and it most certainly was one that I will never forget. I am extremely grateful to the Biochemical Society and Chinese Society of Biochemistry and Molecular for generously funding my flights, accommodation and meals for the entire week.”


Are you postgraduate student studying the molecular or cellular biosciences? Join the Biochemical Society and take advantage of our grants to help you attend conferences, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Already a postgraduate member? The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Brazilian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will jointly host the 23rd IUBMB and 44th SBBq Congress in Brazil, 24–28 August 2015. A satellite IUBMB-SBBq Young Scientists Program will be held in the days preceding. Our postgraduate members are eligible to apply for free registration and shared accommodation for both events. Visit the Congress website for more information and to apply. The deadline is 15 October 2014. Biochemical Society members who are successful will also have the opportunity to apply for a Travel Grant of up to £650.

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