By Helen Knight, POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH STUDENT IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, University of Southampton
Translation UK was held for the first time at the University of Aberdeen, from July 7-9, 2015, on the beautiful King’s College campus. Translation UK is a prestigious annual conference that brings together scientists from all over the world investigating protein production and the control processes regulating it.
The conference programme this year was outstanding, with keynote speakers from highly respected scientists in the translation field, including an extremely interesting talk by Zoya Ignatova (University of Hamburg, Germany), who described how silent synonymous polymorphisms (sSNPs) are not invariant for protein folding and activity as previously thought and can modulate disease pathology through altered ribosomal scanning rates.
Amongst the array of stimulating talks were several of direct relevance to my research, including a talk by Audrey Michel (University College Cork, Ireland), who has developed RiboGalaxy, a bioinformatic platform on which to analyse ribo-seq data, which I am sure will be of great use to me throughout the remainder of my PhD. Another talk by Phillip Gould (Warwick University, UK) described how structured 5’UTRs can lead to ribosomal pausing, which lead to an interesting discussion over the data I later presented in my poster on a similar topic.
I am currently finishing the second year of my PhD in Mark Coldwell’s lab at the University of Southampton. My PhD involves research around the control of eukaryotic translation initiation, focussing on how translation is regulated from upstream non-AUG codons. The subcellular localisation, binding partners and function of the N-terminally extended proteins is also of interest, and has been found to differ between the extended and annotated protein isoforms in certain candidate genes.
I was able to present a poster of my research and gain valuable feedback and ideas for further research and potential useful techniques from my peers. Networking at specialised conferences such as Translation UK is extremely important at this stage in my PhD and I was able to make contacts which may become useful in the future – through presenting my work, over dinner and at the Ceilidh dance!
I was fortunate to receive a travel grant from the Biochemical Society in order to attend Translation UK 2015, which covered both my return flight from London to Aberdeen, as well accommodation at the conference.