‘In August 2014 I obtained a lectureship at the University of Kent to set up my own independent research group. The research in my lab, focuses on understanding the processes of integrin-mediated cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix and its role in cell migration. Such adhesion is fundamental to multicellular life and defects in adhesion signalling have been implicated in many diseases and cancers.
Over the last 6 months I have worked hard to get my group established and hire people to join the lab. As part of setting up my lab I made the decision to only attend one international conference this year, I chose to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Fibronectin, Integrins and Related Molecules as this is one of the big meetings in my research area and brings together the major players in the field in an intimate environment. This years meeting, which was the one the Biochemical Society provided me the Travel Grant to attend, was held in Il Ciocco, Tuscany, Italy.
The timing of this meeting was just right for developing my career as an independent Principal Investigator. The meeting provided me with the opportunity to present our latest research and, with the extensive time allocated for networking opportunities, establish new collaborations that look set to significantly benefit my research. Importantly, this meeting, being so focussed on my research area, enable me to keep abreast of the latest research and emerging questions in the field which is important for identifying future research questions.’