11th International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences

21 Aug 2013

Messel bursar Fanny Cherblanc reports on her attendance at the 11th International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences, held in Boston from 23 - 26 July 2013.

Thanks to a generous Messel travel bursary provided by SCI, I was able to attend the 11th International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences (ISACS) - Challenges in Chemical Biology. I found this meeting a great opportunity for me to learn about the excellent science performed in different parts of the world by leading scientists in the field.

The oral presentations were divided between plenary lectures from well-established speakers and presentations by researchers at an earlier stage of their career. The quality of both types of lectures was exceptionally high and gave me good insights into the different strategies developed recently in chemical biology.

I was particularly interested in the chromatin biology and epigenetics section as this has been the focus of my PhD work. Indeed, my research deals with the targeting of histone lysine methyltransferases with small molecules and I found several presentations highly relevant to my work. Prof Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Laureate 2009 in chemistry, opened the conference. She described her amazing contribution to our understanding of the ribosome machinery. Her talk was highly inspiring and she made a special case of encouraging young women to contribute to academic research.

Two poster sessions enabled the younger members of the community to present their research. I presented a poster on my work and was also selected to give a 'flash presentation' to advertise it. This five-minute talk allowed me to briefly describe the aim of my research, to raise the curiosity of the audience and to invite them to come visit my poster. This was a real success and my poster received a lot of interest. Gratifyingly, I was even awarded the prize for the best poster! In addition to a generous book token, the RSC, which organised the conference, invited me to attend the RSC-Roche symposium in Shanghai, China in October. I also will also be able to present my research there.

Attending this meeting enabled me to network with top researchers in chemical biology. This was particularly important to me as I am in the last months of my PhD and am planning to perform my postdoctoral studies chemical biology. I seized the opportunity to meet potential mentors for a postdoc and had several interviews, which I hope will lead to a position.

I truly want to thank SCI for its generous award. Attending this conference has been a great experience and I am so delighted by all the positive outcomes: winning the poster prize and having interviews with top scientists for a postdoctoral position. None of this would have been possible without the contribution of SCI.

Fanny Cherblanc
Imperial College London

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