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The annual Doctoral College Showcase, this year held on 8th June, gives PGR students from all Faculties in DMU an opportunity to celebrate their work and present their research.

A total of 40 students presented their research through posters, ten minute presentations, or three minute flash talks as part of the 3MT three-minute thesis competition. Topics ranged across various disciplines, covering Identity, Sustainability, Societal Impact, and Digital Society.

Ph.D. Gemma Cooper gave a fantastic presentation on her research 'Plants to Drugs: The Search for Novel Antivirals', for the first time to a non-specialist audience. Huge congratulations to Gemma on winning both the Judge's Choice and People's Choice in the Excellent Presentation Competition!

The Microbiology Society Annual Conference is a leading conference attracting virologists and microbiologists from across the UK and globally. This year, the conference was held on 17 - 20th April, in Manchester UK.

The conference included several keynote talks focussing on understanding the development of pandemics, the importance of microbial sequencing, and new advances in structural studies. The Prize Medal 2023 Lecture by Prof Wendy Barclay (Imperial College London, UK) on Perspectives on Pandemics was a brilliant and accessible summary of Prof Barclay's research on transmissibility of respiratory viruses, particularly the adaptations influenza virus and coronaviruses have to undergo to make them transmit between humans. Prof Ravi Gupta's (University of Cambridge, UK) Translational Microbiology Prize Lecture comprehensively covered the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants, and their impact on host immunity. Prof Iruka Okeke (University of Ibadan, Nigeria) gave an inspirational Peter Wildy Prize Lecture on the importance of bringing the people outside into the scientific community to expand access to microbiology and pathogen genomics research globally.

Alongside, several workshops showcased novel research in SARS-CoV-2 biology and immunity, DNA viruses and RNA viruses. A particular highlight were two talks focussing on single-molecule microscopy in the Microns Apart: Viral Organisation of a Crowded Cell workshop. Prof Marvin Tanenbaum (TU Delft, Netherlands) presented their work on a single-molecule imaging assay to visualise individual viral RNAs to during the very early stages of picornavirus infections; at one point generating an audible gasp of amazement from the audience by a video showing a single fluorescent vRNA molecule enter a cell, followed by a burst of several fluorescent foci indicating translating vRNAs in the infected cell! The second talk by Prof Kevin Welsher (Duke University, USA) showcased a single-particle tracking method with simultaneous volumetric imaging of the cell (3D-Trlm) to visualise the extracellular phase of infection, tracking individual virus particles outside the cell before entry occurs.

Ph.D. student Gemma Cooper, and Maitreyi Shivkumar presented posters on our antiviral research in the SARS-CoV-2 section, focussing on investigating the antiviral activity of natural product-derived and synthetic xanthones, and natural product volatiles. Maitreyi also presented a flash talk at the Teaching Symposium on outreach activity Escape Lab, based on our antiviral drug discovery research.

Overall, the conference was a great opportunity for us to present our research, get feedback from the community, and return to the lab with so many ideas for our next experiments!

The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences PGR conference held on 29th March this year showcased various Ph.D. and M.Res students' research.

A busy day of posters and talks ranging from dementia triaging to vaccine delivery systems, this was a great opportunity for PGR students to network and present their work. A highlight was a career development workshop and talk on grant writing, exposing our PGR students to variety of future career options.

Finally, congratulations to Ph.D. student Gemma Cooper for winning first place in the Oral Presentation Competition and second place in the Poster Competition! Gemma presented her research on developing natural product-derived compounds as novel antivirals against coronaviruses in a poster and talk.

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