The postgraduate symposium occurred at Imperial College London on the 24-26th September 2014 between Imperial College London (ICL) and University College Cork students (UCC). The main aim of this symposium was to integrate knowledge and training between these two well renowned centres. UCC and ICL are both interested in the interaction of the gut microbiome and host health.
ICL STRATiGRAD cohort focuses on stratified and translational medicine with an interest in disease biomarker discovery using multi-omic technologies. This includes metabonomic and metagenomics that assist in characterising metabolic phenotyping and functional metagenomics; in order to understand the role of the gut microbiota in co-metabolism as well as contributing to certain diseases.
UCC APC has a worldwide reputation for excellence in host-microbe interaction and gut microbiota functionality. This group use molecular based techniques with significant expertise in developing animal models to research this. They also use sequencing technologies and bioinformatics to identify and characterise complex bacterial communities.
These groups have different research areas of excellence but use complementary technologies. By interacting at a postgraduate level, it would promote knowledge and awareness in students from both parties and open up the opportunity for future, and hopefully lasting, collaborations.
During the symposium, we had lectures from researchers from ICL; we were extremely appreciative to have these speakers give a talk. Speakers included Prof Jeremy Nicholson, Prof Elaine Holmes, Dr. Julian Marchesi and Dr. Jia Li, both involved in the co-ordination of the Centre for Digestive and Gut Health and Dr Jonathan Swann, an associate professor at Reading University
Science networking is an invaluable skill which by developing at a postgraduate level can have an impact on future research and careers. Furthermore, this event has encouraged independent discussion of research outside of the group. It has also promoted a peer support network so issues and problems can be discussed between students informally. Both research and personal skills have been developed through this event as well as assisting in information exchange. Email addresses were exchanged between all students so that this peer supported relationship can keep going into the future.
Nancy Georgakopoulou & Fran Jackson