Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Greetings from Tuscany!

I am currently in Tuscany for the Gordon Research Conference on Multidrug Efflux Systems. This is the first time I've been able to attend this meeting since the very first one in 2003. There are actually a few hundred different Gordon Research Conferences (GRC), each on a different scientific topic. I'll be at another GRC in August in Hong Kong. GRCs are typically smallish meetings (100-150 scientists) held in relatively remote locations, so attendees are "trapped" at the meeting. I've always liked this format, as you eat all meals together and stay at the same location, so it provides a great opportunity to meet people and chat about science.

GRCs encourage speakers to present unpublished data, but this has the consequence that all presentations at the conference are confidential so I can't blog about any of the cool science being discussed. I guess I can at least chat about presentations from my own group. I gave a talk and Karl had a poster on our work on the new family of drug efflux pumps that we have discovered. My talk seemed to generate alot of interest as I had about fifteen people ask questions at the end of my talk. The good thing about talking early in the meeting is I don't have to stress over my talk, and I can relax and enjoy the rest of the GRC.

This GRC meeting is held at the the Il Ciocco Resort which is near Lucca in Tuscany. It is a very attractive location, though currently somewhat foggy and rainy.

View from my window this morning

Thanks to Karl Hassan for finding this cartoon. It's not quite this bad.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Syn Bio and twitter

Well I've so far avoided getting on twitter (or facebook) as I have enough time sinks already. This probably makes me a fossil. I recently hosted a planning meeting to start organizing a bid for a Synthetic Biology Centre. My colleague Louise Brown is very active on twitter, and commemorated the occasion with this tweet.  

In case you don't want to follow the link, here's the photo of us

JAMS turns 4, Blog turns 3

Well, I'm a month or so late, but JAMS (Joint Academic Microbial Seminars) had its 4th birthday, and celebrated in its usual fashion by holding an afternoon symposium, followed by dinner at the Australian Museum.Excellent speakers as usual, the highlight for me was Kat Holt's talk on using genomics to understand the epidemiology and evolution of bacterial pathogens causing diseases such as typhoid and dysentery.

A talk on typhoid and dysentery is of course a perfect lead in to dinner, which was in the dinosaur room. A great chance to catch up with colleagues and friends, except for the second year the band was so loud, it was hard to converse with anyone (yes I've become an old fuddy-duddy, plus I'm also somewhat deaf).

I know when JAMS has its birthday, it is also the birthday for this blog as one of my first blog posts was about the first JAMS symposium. So happy birthday all round!

Yay! Biggest ever attendance for a JAMS meeting. Who is that thoughtful looking fellow there in the front row?