Mary O’Sullivan benefits from summer school placement thanks to Biochemical Society travel grant

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‘Currently a PhD student at University College London, I recently attended the 2015 Summer School on Mitochondrial RNA Biology in Levi, Finland, with the generous support of a Biochemical Society travel grant. As my primary research focus is aminoglycoside antibiotic hearing loss related to the mitochondrial ribosome, this specialized summer school on mitochondrial RNA biology provided a fantastic opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the latest concepts in my field.

I was one of twenty-five PhD students competitively selected to attend this intensive, eight-day programme hosted by Professors Howard Jacobs (University of Tampere & Helsinki) and Laurie Kaguni (University of Tampere & Michigan State University).  At the summer school, 16 lectures were intermingled with a minisymposium, Q&A sessions, 2 poster sessions, and a group work project.

I presented a poster on my research, was selected as a group-work team leader, and gave two presentations – an introductory “elevator” research pitch, and in my group’s final presentation. The breadth of the topics covered at the summer school encouraged cross-disciplinary thinking and there were five world-leading lecturers in residence: Professors Dan Bogenhagen (Stony Brook University, USA); Gertraud Burger (University of Montreal, Canada); Aleksandra Filipovska (University of Western Australia, Perth); Franz B. Lang (University of Montreal, Canada), and Lluis Ribas (IRB Barcelona, Spain).

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Going forward, prestigious Biochemical Society funding will be of huge benefit for future funding applications. Moreover, my attendance at the summer school has been a fantastic way for me to network with other academics, promote my recently published work, and set up collaborations that could be key to the success of my future projects.

The diversity of the learning program, social activities and the length of the course also allowed the participants to gel together as a cohort, and the friends I made in Levi, Finland, are ones I absolutely hope to remain in contact with in the years to come. I very much hope that with the knowledge I have gained and the help of those I met at summer school, I can move my work on hearing loss forward to clinical translation and remain competitive as I continue along my research journey.’

Mary O’Sullivan

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