International Online Conference on Bio-hybrid Approaches to Solar Energy Conversion (27–29 October, UK)

The conference explored ‘bio-hybrid’ approaches in which biological machineries including proteins, enzymes and whole cells are being integrated with synthetic materials for (solar) energy conversion, from fuel production to power generation. The conference was highly interdisciplinary and showcased advanced techniques to characterize, design and synthesize the biomaterial interface, while providing a forum for biologists, material scientists, electrochemists and spectroscopists to share ideas for tackling this challenge.

In total, we heard invited and contributed talks from 31 speakers, received 27 ePosters and hosted over 110 registered attendants from all over the world. An ePoster session, with both chat and virtual call sessions, and a participation prize via raffle were surprisingly effective at stimulating discussion and participation. There was never a dull moment during the discussion sessions, which extended past the poster sessions and into happy hour sessions after the first and last days of the programme.

We thank the Biochemical Society for their sponsorship, which helped increase the attendance and engagement of the scientific community, making this conference a real success.

2020 – A year of digital events

It has not been a normal year for events by any means but, here at the Biochemical Society, it has nevertheless been a busy time, with a full programme of online events running throughout 2020. Here is a brief roundup of how we have adapted our programme and, in the process, reached more people than ever before.

Webinars

We started our Biochemistry Focus webinar series last June and have since covered a range of topics, including ACE2, the Human Cell Atlas project, and non-academic careers for molecular bioscientists. In total, we held 22 webinars over the course of 2020, reaching over 7700 people from 85 countries around the world, and will continue to hold webinars throughout 2021. Recordings of the webinars can be found on our website or YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/biochemicalsociety.

Training

We ran eight online training courses last year, enabling users to learn at their own pace and further their professional development. Courses included ‘R for Biochemists 101’, ‘Introduction to Public Engagement and Science Policy’, ‘Practical Python for Beginners’, and ‘Using Technology for Effective Teaching in HE’.

On-demand conferences

We ran three on-demand conferences in 2020, giving delegates access to recordings of scientific meetings held before the pandemic on topics including ‘Organ-on-a-chip: current gaps and future directions’, ‘Drug repurposing’, and ‘The changing landscape of research on ageing’. Delegates were given access to the presentations for 3–4 weeks and were able to ask questions to speakers via email.

Online scientific meetings

Our first online scientific meeting, ‘Low molecular weight thiols: lessons learned and new perspectives’, was held on 7–9 December 2020, with fascinating talks from 13 invited speakers, including the 2020 Keilin Memorial Lecture from Judy Hirst. Delegates from 19 different countries watched live, viewed the online posters, networked with each other and can watch all the presentations on catch-up. You can read more about the meeting in the next issue of The Biochemist.

Our second online meeting, ‘Dynamic Cell IV’, held jointly with the British Society for Cell Biology, will take place on 14–19 March 2021. Delegates will hear from over 20 invited speakers and 20 oral communications across five afternoons. For more details, please see our website: bit.ly/Dynamic-Cell-IV. Registration is open now!

Our digital events have reached over 8000 people from 85 countries so far, a larger and wider audience than normal. As well as being accessible and affordable, they have enabled us to continue to meet the Society’s goals of promoting and sharing knowledge, supporting career development and lifelong learning in the process. Look out for our forthcoming events at www.biochemistry.org/events.

Crossword Competition

The solutions to the crossword featured in the October 2020 issue are: Across. 4. Uveitis, 6. Isomer, 9. Retina, 11. Cataract, 13. Myopia, 14. Meniscus, 15. Eye, 16. Ocular, 17. Optical, 19. Sclera, 22. Glaucoma, 23. Fundus.

Down. 1. Astigmatism, 2. Vision, 3. Dioptre, 5. Light, 7. Retinol, 8. Cornea, 10. Aging, 11. Cone, 12. Aqueous, 18. Limbus, 20. Lens, 21. Rod.

Congratulations to the winner of the October Competition:

Aurélie Chabrun, Charnwood Molecular Ltd., UK.

The missing word from the October issue’s competition was GANGLION. Aurélie received a a selection of spooky glow-in-the-dark goodies.

Shibboleth

By Benoît Leblanc (https://peopleinwhitecoats.blogspot.com/)

Online conferences
Dynamic Cell IV

14–19 March 2021, online

The Dynamic Cell series is an inclusive cell biology meeting organized jointly by the Biochemical Society and the British Society of Cell Biology. The scientific remit of this conference is broad, but with a focus on cell dynamics that is intended to stimulate novel collaborative approaches and the application of new technologies to established fields. The programme for Dynamic Cell IV will explore cross-kingdom cell biology. This online meeting will bring together researchers using dynamic methods to interrogate cellular behaviour and there will be dedicated sessions covering Cell Division: Mitosis and Meiosis; Cell Migration; Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Cells and Tissues; Cellular Transport and Trafficking; and New Technologies for Imaging and Probing Cell Function.

Practical Python for beginners: a Biochemist’s guide

22 March 2021, online

This online course aims to support researchers at any career stage to learn the core skills which underlie the application of Python to complex, real-world research problems. ‘Practical Python for beginners: a Biochemist’s guide’ was developed by an experienced team of Python trainers and early career researchers with first-hand experience of learning Python for biochemical problems, based at the University of York. Learners have the opportunity to interact with each other and the course trainers. No previous coding experience is required.

Evolving Molecular Bioscience Education 2021

27–28 May 2021, online

This two-day online event, run in collaboration with the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, is aimed at anyone teaching in higher education in the molecular biosciences, from early career lecturers to established professors. The course aims to share best practice and novel ideas with higher educators for equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in their careers. The event will comprise lectures, group discussions and poster presentations from attendees and is supported by Heads of University Biosciences.