CNR-CIP Symposium

For the second time this year, the Centre for Neuroregeneration and Centre for Integrative Physiology held a joint meeting at which 2nd year PhD students had the opportunity to present their work. (The first edition of this meeting is summarized here).

The format was based on the ‘three minute thesis’ (3MT), although we were given more leniency: in the original 3MT, participants are only allowed to have one single slide with no animations, while we were allowed three slides with animations, but no videos. The time stayed the same – we had to summarize our most important findings in three minutes.

Admittedly, this format is not one of my favourites. I find it extremely challenging – especially at a stage where you are happy to finally have a gathered a decent amount of interesting data, you don’t want to compress it down again to essentially elevator talk time. However, it is crucial to be concise in science and you are often required to bring across the highlights and key points of your research in a short span of time, thus the 3MT is a good opportunity to practice this.

There was a large variety of talks by students from different labs. At this second CNR-CIP Symposium, the students were predominantly based at the Centre for Integrative Physiology, with me and a colleague from the Centre for Neuroregeneration holding the place for the Little France Campus. The standard of the talks was very high throughout, and it was fascinating to hear what projects my fellow students work on. I was awestruck by some of the complex methodology and interesting topics they work on; work included virtual reality environments for mice, in vivo two-photon imaging of dendritic calcium transients in freely behaving animals (I love calcium imaging so obviously was fascinated by that), studying how neurons and astrocytes influence each other, and how oxidative stress can be decreased to prevent neuronal cell death after stroke.

It was a great opportunity to hear about the research that is done throughout the centres here in Edinburgh, and it made me proud to be a part of this community performing such cutting edge science!

A nice cherry on top was that I won the (joint) runner up for the best talk! I feel very happy my presentation was so well received, and even more so since I was a bit anxious about the presentation format. This again shows that challenging yourself is an essential part of progressing throughout your studies!

After this slightly stressful week with two presentations (the other one being a 40 minute presentation at the ImmuneFish Meeting), I rewarded myself with some relaxing time at a spa near Edinburgh.  🙂


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