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45th Meeting of the Biochemistry Department Research Society

Wednesday 1 September 2021 11:45am

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For the first time in its 45-year history, the meeting of the Biochemistry Department Research Society, aka the Fourth-Year talks, was held entirely online.

Each year, the fourth year students studying for BSc Honours or Master’s degrees share their research results at a mini-conference.

Usually members of the department pack into the seminar room to support the students and listen to the ups and downs of research carried out over the past half year. This year, with the news of Covid-19 in the community and the abrupt shift into lockdown level 4, the whole meeting was shifted to Zoom last week.

The students coped extremely well, giving polished presentations with complete mastery of the online presentation technology.

Presenting their research online did have some challenges – including presenting to a sea of absent faces (audience members were not keen on keeping their video cameras on), and the chat function seemed to encourage more questions than would usually surface.

But the online format ensured a record number attending, up to about 70 people at times, who could not have been accommodated in our usual seminar room.

21 students presented their research over two afternoons. Oliver Craig kicked off the event on the Thursday, presenting his research into assembly and repair of Photosystem II in cyanobacteria in Professor Julian Eaton-Rye’s lab. On late Friday afternoon, Jeffery McAlpine finished off the talks with his research into protein-based modulators of ubiquitin transfer supervised by Dr Adam Middleton.

Head of Department Professor Sally McCormick then gave everyone a glimpse of the gift traditionally given to the fourth years after their talks – a laboratory spatula. This year the students will receive theirs sometime after lockdown eases, hopefully soon.

Fourth-year student Oliver Craig talks about his research at the online meeting of the Biochemistry Department Research Society.

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Head of Department Professor Sally McCormick holds up one of the metal lab spatulas that will be presented to the fourth-year students.

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