Supportive and collaborative culture among social amoeba specialists

By Dr Jason King, Advanced Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Sheffield

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This August I attended the 2015 International Dictyostelium meeting at Royal Holloway in London. Although I have attended this meeting several times in the past, I had only just started my own research group in Sheffield, so felt this was an important opportunity to build the collaborations that will be essential for me to succeed in my new life as a boss. Fortunately, a Biochemical Society travel grant meant that I was able to go, as well as one of my PhD students.

As always, the meeting was excellent – both scientifically and socially. The Dictyostelium community has a very supportive and collaborative culture and has grown to work on a diverse range of interesting biological problems. As a new Principal Investigator (PI) I found the meeting extremely rewarding as many of my collaborators were in the same place – providing a unique opportunity to really discuss things and catch up.

Overall, I found it very interesting how different it was attending a meeting like this as a PI for the first time. It was fantastic seeing someone from my lab do a great job presenting their poster, a great opportunity to reinforce my relationships with others in the community and see how we can work together. At this stage in my career it’s all about building the foundations and getting established. This meeting certainly helped me do that and I am very grateful to the Biochemical Society for their support.

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