NRN-LCEE Fellows and students present at international conferences

The NRN-LCEE encourages its Fellows and PhD students to present at international conferences. Recently, Geo-Carb-Cymru Fellow Dr Sara Rassner and PhD student André Soares (both at Aberystwyth University) attended and presented at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference, 2-6 April in Edinburgh. Multi-Land PhD student Bid Webb presented a poster at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly, 23-28 April in Vienna.  Here they tell about their experience:


“This international conference is the largest conference for microbiology in Europe and attracts over 1200 delegates from all over the world. This year it was particularly well-attended and I was fortunate to get a poster space, which provided a great opportunity for career development. The conference offered a dedicated two-day Geo-microbiology session, which gave me the opportunity to network with PIs and postdocs from several of the large labs in my field in the UK, Europe and the US. In particular, collaboration opportunities were discussed with Dr Karen Olsson-Francis at The Open University and Prof Vernon Phoenix, from the University of Strathclyde. Thanks to the poster, I was also approached by Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson from Newcastle University, with whom I discussed the possibility of a joint EPSRC grant application. Therefore, I believe that attending this conference has benefited me greatly and initiated some very good collaborations for Geo-Carb-Cymru.”

André was also particularly interested in the sessions dedicated to geo-microbiology, but the event provided much wider benefits and interests:

“Firstly, in a dedicated networking session the night before the start of the conference, I was lucky to meet peers working not only in academia but also in the private sector. This interests me because I am still deciding what to do after my PhD, and working in a company fit for my skills may be an option.

I presented my poster during two sessions and received positive feedback. One of my field’s ‘heroes’, Dr. Sherwood-Lollar, took special interest in the poster and suggested different scopes for the data analysis, which I will surely explore for the paper I am preparing, which targets the microbiology of an important aquifer in North Wales, as an analogue to deep subsurface formations in the North Irish Sea, which other members of Geo-Carb-Cymru are working on. Further, contact with a previous member of my laboratory now working in southern Germany created the possibility of travelling there to learn specific DNA extraction and processing techniques.

Attending this conference therefore allowed me to not only become even more aware of high-end research from around the world, but also to gain highly valuable working contacts.”



“This week-long conference attracted 14,496 scientists from 107 countries and covered 22 different disciplinary sessions, and was the first conference of this magnitude that I have attended. I presented my research in a ‘PICO’ presentation, which involves participants each giving a 2 minute overview of their research, after which audience members can learn more at large PICO touch-screens that include full version of the presentations.

A lot of people appeared to be interested in my research and already with my first visitor, I discussed opportunities for future collaboration. I found myself explaining my research over and over to scientists, both those within my field and outside.

In addition to scientific presentations, we had the opportunity to attend side events. For example, a workshop on “How my research got into the news”, where Dutch scientist Rolf Hut got us all involved with role playing games and telling stories and, without realising, learning how to navigate the world of the media.

The highlight of the conference for me was meeting people from both the UK and across Europe from my research area and getting to know more about their work, as well as receiving instant feedback on my own research.”

Publication date: 6 June 2017