A World Without Cancer Threat

1–6 February 2021, Isanlu, Kogi State, Nigeria

With the support of the Biochemical Society, I facilitated a cancer awareness and education symposium, trained health personnel on cancer screening, screened patients for cervical and prostate cancers and dispensed free prescribed drugs to patients. This was to mark the official launch of the Dove-Haven Foundation (DHF) and commemorate World Cancer Day 2021. ‘A World Without Cancer Threat’ took place at Isanlu, Kogi State, Nigeria from 1 to 6 February 2021.

DHF is a non-profit organization whose programmes are designed to create awareness on early cancer screening, testing and prevention strategies and helping those already suffering from cancer. The organization has volunteers across Nigeria, and in the diaspora, and is situated in Kogi State, the only state sharing boundaries with 10 other states and thus well positioned for the engagement and impact of health intervention. Participants include government representatives such as the current Nigerian Minister of Health and former Minister of Health, as well as religious and community leaders, health professionals, oncologists, community health workers, nurses, members of the press/media, primary and tertiary healthcare staff members and students from secondary and tertiary education institutions.

More than 400 people participated in the symposium, with speakers from the USA, the UK and Nigeria. Twenty-three health personnel were trained on cervical cancer screening. The community medical engagement was successful, based on the coverage, supplies, personnel, drug supply and the number of patients covered. We attended to more than 300 patients and screened over 150 people for cervical cancer and 35 people for prostate cancer. Sponsorship from the Biochemical Society was timely and useful in the production and purchase of education aid materials.

Funding for this event was awarded in advance of the Biochemical Society’s decision to reserve financial support for face-to-face meetings until October 2021, regardless of international restrictions.

Dynamic Cell IV

14–19 March 2021, Online

Dynamic Cell IV was run jointly by the Biochemical Society and the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB) in a virtual format, with emphasis on networking and social events. The meeting started with a keynote talk by Enrico Coen, with a presentation that explored the biophysics driving the emergence of plant organ shape from cell growth. This was followed by a student/postdoc session in which the quality of talks was very high, with plenty of questions and feedback from attendees. Throughout the conference we operated an anonymous question system allowing anyone in the audience to ask questions to the speaker and this worked really well to boost engagement and provide a surfeit of questions – the discussions carried on into post-session ‘meet the speaker’ talks in many cases.

In the following 5 days, we heard many interesting talks by both senior and junior scientists working in the field of cell biology, with topics ranging from nematode neurons to cereal-killer fungi. We also presented one best talk prize and seven poster prizes and presented four medals from the two societies. In addition to the scientific sessions, we ran roundtable discussions spanning subjects such as grant writing, developing an independent career, communicating your science and improving the profile of minority groups in academia. We also ran a vibrant social programme each evening, with a (virtual) pub quiz, an online escape room and competitions using the drawing app Drawful2. It was great to ‘virtually’ see many attendees participating in the breakout rooms, roundtable discussions, and social events. We are planning to run this event again in 2024 or 2025.

Forthcoming online events
An introduction to effective teaching practices in life sciences higher education

Starting 14 June 2021

Aimed at those new to teaching or supporting teaching in the biosciences within higher education, this online course provides an introduction to good teaching practices that can be applied to both in-person and online formats in order to improve students’ learning. The course will be informed by evidence and will include case studies and online discussions among participants. Completing this course will help colleagues working towards various levels of fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and this is free to attend for Biochemical Society members.

From concept to practice: real world research translation and commercialization

23–24 June 2021

Developed in collaboration with Spin Up Science, this online workshop will equip researchers with the skills necessary for real-world research translation. It will offer participants an overview of how to take technologies out of the lab and into the real world through a series of interactive sessions, pulling from real-life case studies. Participants will learn how to evaluate and pursue research commercialization and how to secure resources to deliver ambitious projects, and will benefit from an introduction to intellectual property and different routes for commercialization.

Translation UK 2021

28–30 June 2021

Translation is an essential highly conserved process which is required for the synthesis of proteins in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. This unique annual UK scientific meeting enables discussion of the latest progress in this field and opportunities for fostering collaborations between researchers. This year’s meeting will cover a wide range of topics related to translation, including the mechanistic basis of regulation, upstream signal transduction cascades, and genomic architecture. The conference also represents an important forum for researchers at PhD and postdoctoral levels, providing opportunities to deliver oral and poster presentations to promote their research and hosting a dedicated early career researcher event to promote further networking among this group.

Workshop on ribosome profiling 2021

1–2 July 2021

This two half-day workshop is aimed at PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and will provide an excellent training platform for scientists who are planning their ribosome profiling experiments and those struggling with either wet lab or computational troubleshooting. Offering a collaborative environment to share knowledge on many of the technical aspects of ribosome profiling, the course will combine short technical presentations with discussions and questions aimed to help both individuals planning or just starting experiments, and those who are in the middle of analysis and would like further support.