Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

IBBS launches new seminar programme

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Many of our IBBS researchers are regular international travellers. The USA is a big player in our research portfolio and we work with a wide range of universities from California to Miami, with close ties to prestigious institutes such as Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University and Wood’s Hole Laboratories. In South America we have a cluster of colleagues in Brazil, from public health research at Fiocruz-Rondônia, to Universities including Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Campinas, Vicosa, UNIARA and São Paulo. In Mexico we work with the Laboratorio de Inmunobiología, Instituto Politécnico Nacional.

Further afield, we have collaborations in Russia (Institute of Cytology, St Petersburg and the Bioengineering Centre, Moscow), Japan (University of Hiroshima), Singapore (Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology), Taiwan (Triservice Hospital, Taipei), Iran (Shohada-e-Tajrish Hospital, Tehran), India (Chennai Research Institute) and even as far as Australia (Garvan Institute for Medical Research, Sydney).

Image: Distribution and number of institutions globally involved in collaborations with IBBS members

Our researchers regularly present their work at international meetings and conferences and we want IBBS to encourage reciprocal visits. November saw the launch of the new format IBBS seminar series which we have now opened up to fund international speakers. With an aim of increasing accessibility, the seminar format was changed and scheduled for fortnightly at the new time of 1pm, to be followed by late lunch refreshments of teas, coffees, sandwiches, cakes and fruit. With the emphasis of hosting high profile speakers and supporting networking opportunities, funding supports speakers visiting IBBS for a couple of days to allow collaborative discussions, and time to be spent viewing the facilities.

Dr Rhiannon McGeehan, IBBS seminar organiser, opened the seminar series with a few words of welcome to everyone. IBBS was delighted to host Prof. Terry Tetley from the Faculty of Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, to kick off the series. Hosted by Prof. Jan Shute, Terry spoke about her cutting edge research within the field of engineered nanoparticles and lung health, highlighting the important advantages these materials offer whilst also raising awareness of the drawbacks, particularly in relation to particle inhalation.

Image: Prof. Terry Tetley with Dr Rhiannon McGeehan, IBBS seminar organiser

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A central role of IBBS is the promotion of scientific collaboration both within the University and on the wider international stage. Our members have generated a large network of research expertise throughout the world, and with recent political pressures, our growing international profile in Europe and beyond is more important than ever. Our European neighbours have always been strong collaborators, and while Brexit will bring significant challenges, there are certain to be new opportunities. For example, we have a long history of working productively with our French and German colleagues and this was highlighted during a recent review of IBBS by the directors revealing active collaborations in universities including Bochum, Ulm, Saarland, Mainz, Paris, Lyon, Rouen and Rennes, but also at top-flight institutes such as the Max Planck, CNRS and EMBL. We have strong links with Poland and ongoing research projects with the Polish Academy of Sciences, including the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw, where a bilateral co-operation agreement was signed last year. Other countries with active IBBS collaborators include Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy, Hungary and indeed most of the Nordic countries including the University of Bergen in Norway, Technical University of Denmark, University of Oulu, Finland and Stockholm University, Sweden.

It was fantastic to see that Terry’s talk attracted a very large attendance; indeed, with the lecture theatre completely full, extra chairs had to be brought in to provide additional seating. The presence of the Science Faculty Interim Dean, Prof. Hoskins, and Associate Dean (Research), Dr Thorne, in the audience didn’t go unnoticed by the visiting speaker. Following discussions immediately after the seminar, further debates extended into the post-seminar late lunch refreshments. There was certainly a positive buzz in the air as IBBS scientists were heard discussing ideas and options for undertaking collaborative experiments.

Image: Prof. Terry Tetley engaged in post-seminar discussions with members of IBBS


For more information about future IBBS seminar speakers, please see our list of seminars  - IBBS looks forward to seeing you there!

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