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Research Fellows' Conference 2016

Conference

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

Human cortical neurons in a dish by Dr Sarah Newey Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, University of Oxford

The biennial Research Fellows' Conference will showcase the breadth of cutting edge research undertaken by Royal Society Research Fellows with plenary sessions, multi-disciplinary themed sessions and networking opportunities. There will be a chance to hear from Research Fellow Alumni and the conference will close with a keynote speech from Professor Janet Hemingway CBE FRS, Professor of Insect Molecular Biology and Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Further details will be added to this page closer to the event. 

How to register

The conference is open to current Royal Society University Research Fellows, Dorothy Hodgkin Fellows, Sir Henry Dale Fellows and Newton International Fellows only. For more information or to register to attend please contact the Grants team. 


Schedule of talks

21 March

14:00-15:00

Plenary Session 1

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

14:00-14:30 Understanding the human ‘visual' system when there is no input from the eyes

Abstract

Holly Bridge is a University Research Fellow based at the Oxford Centre for functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. She works on understanding the human visual system and its dysfunction using a variety of brain imaging techniques. During her fellowship she has been investigating the capacity of the human brain to reorganize in congenital blindness and in this talk will present an overview of these findings.

This talk will be given by Dr Holly Bridge, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

14:30-15:00 Risk and vulnerability in epidemics on networks

Abstract

I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Bath. One goal of my work is to understand and predict the behaviour of random processes that take place in networked systems. In this talk I will discuss several curious properties of epidemic risk in social contact networks, and how these can be understood using techniques from statistical physics.

This talk will be given by Dr Tim Rogers, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Bath.

15:00-15:30

Coffee break

15:30-16:30

Plenary Session 2

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

15:30-16:00 Neurons line dancing in the brain

Abstract

I started my lab at UCL Institute of Child Health in 2013. We study how neurons are generated in the brain as it grows. Using live-imaging in zebrafish embryos we found a new mechanism that controls the distribution of newborn neurons in the nervous system. This is important as alterations to the distribution of neurons may affect circuit formation and alter brain function.

This talk will be given by Dr Paula Alexandre, who is a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the UCL Institute of Child Health.

16:00-16:30 Chemistry on proteins for basic biology and targeted therapeutics

Abstract

Dr Bernardes is a group leader at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge where he holds a Royal Society URF and an ERC Starting Grant. His work centers on site-selective chemical protein modification for basic biology and targeted therapeutics. This lecture will cover work on the development of artificial metalloproteins for specific delivery of carbon monoxide (CO) to cancer tissues and the role of CO in cancer immunomodulation.

This talk will be given by Dr Gonçalo Bernardes, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

16:30-17:30

Flash-Poster Networking Hour

17:30-18:30

Alumni 'Lessons Learned' Panel

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Professor Polina Bayvel FREng, University College London, UK

17:30-17:40 Professor Polina Bayvel, University College London

Abstract

Professor Bayvel is the Head of the Optical Networks Group (ONG), UCL which she set up in 1994 during her time as a University Research Fellow, which studies optical communications, operating on all time and length scales. Professor Bayvel has also been a Wolfson Research Merit Award holder and has recently won one of our prize lectures, the 2014 Clifford Paterson Lecture.

17:40-17:50 Professor Russell Morris, University of St Andrews

Abstract

Professor Morris is based at the University of St Andrews. He held a University Research Fellowship from 1998-2006. He has had a number of other small grants from us and has also been an Industry Fellow. He is currently a Professor in the School of Chemistry and his achievements in research focus on the synthesis, characterisation and application of inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid solids.

17:50-18:00 Professor Rebecca Kilner

Abstract

Professor Kilner is based in the Zoology Department in Cambridge investigating how social evolution generates biodiversity. She has held a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship followed by a University Research Fellowship, and also has a young family. She is currently a Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder.

 

18:00-18:10 Professor Simon McQueen-Mason

Abstract

Professor McQueen-Mason has had an a-typical career path and is now director of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), Department of Biology, University of York. He held a University Research Fellowship from 1994-2002 and is continuing his work in various aspects of plant cell wall biology.

18:30-20:30

Drinks reception followed by buffet dinner

22 March

09:15-10:15

Flash-Poster Networking Hour

10:15-11:15

Plenary Session 3

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

10:15-10:45 Super-resolution, synapses and sparkle - how diamond could help us observe thoughts

Abstract

Brian Patton is a University Research Fellow in the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour in the University of Oxford. He is trying to use small particles of diamond as sensors for detecting the firing of neurons in a living brain. His talk will discuss some of the challenges in this research, from correcting the image distortions caused by the brain tissue to how we will detect the neuronal signals.

This talk will be given by Dr Brian Patton, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

10:45-11:15 The Janus-faced interaction of plants and microbes

Abstract

Sebastian Schornack is a University Research Fellow at the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge. He studies microbe-induced host reprogramming. During his Ph.D. at University Halle-Wittenberg he discovered the TAL-effector DNA code for genome editing. At the conference he will explain how pathogens suppress plant immunity to cause important crop diseases and will provide examples why and how his group hunts for plant genes which support microbial colonisation.

This talk will be given by Dr Sebastian Schornack, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

11:15-11:30

Coffee break

11:30-12:30

Extremes

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

11:30-11:45 The many facets of ice research

Abstract

Dr Christoph G. Salzmann is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Department of Chemistry at University College London. The work of his group is concerned with the structural characterisation of disordered materials. His talk will give an introduction into the many facets of ice research and will include a virtual journey from the Arctic Circle into the stratosphere and to the distant worlds of icy comets and planets.

This talk will be given by Dr Christoph Salzmann, who is a University Research Fellow at University College London.

11:45-12:00 Shining a light on the unknown: laser characterisation in extreme industrial locations

Abstract

Nick Smith is a geoscientist who is roughly halfway through his Royal Society Industry Fellowship at the National Nuclear Laboratory. Through this he is Visiting Professor at The University of Manchester where he has recently launched the new Photonics and Laser Analysis of Materials and Environments (PhLAME) Research Group. He will present examples of research into in-situ stand-off laser characterisation underpinning deployment in extreme locations in the UK nuclear industry.

This talk will be given by Professor Nicholas Smith, who is an Industry Fellow at the National Nuclear Laboratory.

12:00-12:15 Our explosive Sun: from small flares to extreme eruptions

Abstract

Dr Vasilis Archontis is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews. His research interests concern the manifestation of solar magnetic activity and its impact on Earth. He will discuss how the solar activity occurs over a wide range of scales in a self-similar manner and how it triggers explosive events, which can blast a huge amount of energy and mass into the space. 

This talk will be given by Dr Vasilis Archontis, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews.

12:15-12:30 Cool under pressure

Abstract

Xavier Moya is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy, University of Cambridge. He is interested in phase transitions in functional materials whose structural, magnetic, electrical and thermal properties are strongly coupled. He will discuss how solids materials under pressure could become the basis for future environmental friendly coolers.

This talk will be given by Dr Xavier Moya, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

11:30-12:30

Science of the Small

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

11:30-11:45 Fundamental quantum physics problem proved unsolvable

Abstract

Toby's research straddles theoretical physics, mathematics, computer science, and much of Europe. His work shows quantum computers have deep implications for physics, whether or not anyone builds one. Many big open problems in theoretical physics concern spectral gaps (e.g. the Yang-Mills gap conjecture - a Millennium Prize problem). I will talk about work we published recently in Nature, proving that the general spectral gap problem is undecidable (in the Turing sense).

This talk will be given by Dr Toby Cubitt, who is a University Research Fellow at University College London.

11:45-12:00 Calculating properties of the very early universe

Abstract

I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London. My work concerns the very early universe and a phase of evolution called inflation. Fluctuations produced during inflation seed all structures in the universe. Observations made today therefore inform us about the universe when it was extremely small. I will discuss novel numerical calculations of the properties of these fluctuations.

This talk will be given by Dr David Mulryne, who is a University Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

12:00-12:15 Hope for pancreatic cancer

Abstract

Dr Ainhoa Mielgo is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow working on cancer research at the University of Liverpool. Her team focuses on understanding the role of the tumour microenvironment in pancreatic cancer with the aim of finding more effective combinatorial treatments for this devastating disease. To address this question, her team uses a variety of cell-based assays, proteomics, bioinformatics and pre-clinical tumour models, and closely collaborates with clinicians and pharmaceutical companies.

This talk will be given by Dr Ainhoa Mielgo Iza, who is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the University of Liverpool.

12:15-12:30 Mesoscale design of multifunctional 3D graphene networks

Abstract

Cecilia Mattevi is a Lecturer and Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. Her research interests centre on science and engineering of graphene and novel 2D atomically thin semiconducting materials to enable applications in optoelectronics and energy storage.

This talk will be given by Dr Cecilia Mattevi, who is a University Research Fellow at Imperial College London.

12:30-13:15

Lunch

13:15-14:15

Coping with Multiscale Challenges

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

13:15-13:30 The cosmos in a computer

Abstract

My interest is the formation of galaxies and their interactions with their environment. I will discuss the EAGLE project: an ambitious suite of numerical simulations of the cosmos, and the first to reproduce the observed properties of the galaxy population. I shall discuss how the simulations cope with the multi-scale challenge of galactic astrophysics, highlight key discoveries, and preview the next generation simulations that will resolve individual star clusters.

This talk will be given by Dr Robert Crain, who is a University Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University.

13:30-13:45 Disease-associated decline in cognitive function: studies on multiple scales

Abstract

Andrew Randall FRSB is Professor in Applied Neurophysiology at Exeter University Medical School. Currently he is around halfway through an Industry Fellowship with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. His research interests concern how disease-associated changes at the level of single neurons lead to consequences for large neuronal assemblies and the behaviours they drive. He will present examples of multiscale assessments of neurophysiological function measured in rodent models of human dementia.

This talk will be given by Professor Andrew Randall, an Industry Fellow at the University of Exeter.

13:45-14:00 Coral reef futures under climate change

Abstract

Professor Nick Graham is a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University. He studies large-scale ecological and social-ecological coral reef issues under the overarching themes of climate change, human use and resilience. He will be speaking about climate driven impacts to Seychelles coral reefs, where he has documented both recovery dynamics and ecosystem shifts to alternate states, and the factors that predict these dynamics.

This talk will be given by Professor Nicholas Graham, who is a University Research Fellow at Lancaster University.

14:00-14:15 From tubes of mud to the whole world: scaling climate archives to global systems

Abstract

I research modern marine biogeochemistry and past ocean processes (palaeoceanography) at the University of Bristol. One key challenge in palaeoceanography is scaling up of changes recorded at point locations to regional and global scales. Here, I will give an introduction to palaeoceanography and show how we tackle this scaling challenge by using different models, from simple box models to complex General Circulation Models, illustrated with some of my own work.

This talk will be given by Dr Katharine Hendry, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.

13:15-14:15

Networks

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

13:15-13:30 The Intelligent Car

Abstract

Modern vehicles are equipped with thousands of sensors, enabling them to model their drivers and environment. This talk will give an overview of how machine learning and data science can help to minimise driver distractions, enhance safety, and deliver a personalised driving experience. Nathan Griffiths is a Computer Scientist at the University of Warwick and a Royal Society Industry Fellow working with Jaguar Land Rover.

This talk will be given by Dr Nathan Griffiths, who is an Industry Fellow at the University of Warwick.

13:30-13:45 Understanding the decision making processes of cancer using hybrid models

Abstract

Whilst cancer is extremely common on the population level, it is extremely unlikely for an individual cell to become cancerous. This rarity poses a problem for modelling and understanding the progression of the disease. I will talk about how my group uses discrete and hybrid models, more commonly used in software development than in biology, to address this problem.

This talk will be given by Dr Benjamin Hall, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

13:45-14:00 Atoms and photons talking: a path to quantum technologies

Abstract

Josh Nunn is a University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford working on quantum memories, microwave-to-optical conversion, quantum energy transport and quantum random number generation. Governments, including the UK, have recently invested heavily in quantum technologies. His talk will explain why quantum technologies are so exciting, and will describe how his research on quantum light-matter interactions fits into the quantum tech. landscape.

This talk will be given by Dr Josh Nunn, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

14:00-14:15 Biological clocks in single cells

Abstract

Throughout evolution, life on earth has negotiated natural day/night cycles. Biological rhythms evolved to anticipate this environmental rhythm; examples include our own sleep/wake cycle. Biological clocks exist in animals, plants, fungi, and even some bacteria. My lab investigates the genetic and metabolic networks that underlie cellular clocks. In this talk, I will share some intriguing results that challenge the existing paradigms explaining our body rhythms.

This talk will be given by Dr Gerben van Ooijen, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

14:15-14:35

Coffee break

14:30-16:00

Plenary Session 4

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

14:30-15:00 What lies beneath a desert sand dune?

Abstract

Dr Nathalie Vriend is a mechanical engineer and geophysicist based at the University of Cambridge. She started her Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in January 2014. In this talk, she will explore the physics behind avalanches and dune building and present scientific data from two recent desert field campaigns in Qatar. The geophysical techniques used create a high-resolution cross-section of a dune: can we exploit this to protect downwind communities from dune encroachment?

This talk will be given by Dr Nathalie Vriend, who is a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the University of Cambridge

15:00-15:30 Exploring matter in extreme conditions with bright X-ray Free-Electron Lasers

Abstract

Dr Sam Vinko is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Physics Department, University of Oxford. His work focuses on investigating hot-dense plasmas and their interactions with intense X-rays, of relevance to astrophysics and inertial-fusion research. He will discuss how the advent of X-ray free-electron lasers now allows us to recreate stellar conditions in a laboratory, and has enabled novel investigations into the dynamics of matter in extreme conditions.

This talk will be given by Dr Sam Vinko, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

15:30-16:00 Understanding nerve degeneration at an atomic level

Abstract

I am a molecular cell biologist who uses a variety of tools including structural techniques like X-ray crystallography to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. My lab studies Krabbe disease, where a single point mutation in a gene can cause severe, rapidly fatal neurodegeneration. We use a range of techniques to explore how these changes effect protein structure and function leading to cell death and disease.

This talk will be given by Dr Janet Deane, who is a University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

16:15-17:00

Keynote address

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16:15-17:00

Professor Janet Hemingway CBE FRS, Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Abstract

Professor Janet Hemmingway will give the keynote address followed by closing remarks from Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society.

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Research Fellows' Conference 2016 The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK