Last autumn, the 2017 cohort of the Oxford-GSK-Crick Doctoral Training Programme in Chemical Biology took on the challenge of creating Oxford’s first student-led chemical biology conference. Our aims were to showcase current research from across chemical biology and to enable students at all stages of their doctoral work to present alongside current leaders in the field.
In July 2019, after months of hard work, we welcomed around 100 delegates from across the UK and Europe to Worcester College for ChemBiOx 2019. Over two days, we heard from seven leaders in chemical biology, including keynote lectures from Professor Thomas Carell (LMU Munich), Dr Chun‑wa Chung (GSK), and Professor Michelle Chang (UC Berkeley). We also had eight fantastic student talks, with the student talk prize being awarded to Emma Grant (GSK/University of Strathclyde). There were 31 student posters, covering a broad range of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry topics. We were delighted to award poster prizes to Ross Thomas (GSK/University of Strathclyde), Rachel Sim (University of Oxford) and Sarah Walsh (University of Oxford/ADTBio).
The programme also included a career panel, which highlighted a diverse range of scientific career pathways and challenges. We were fortunate to be joined by industry scientists and experts in academic management, career development and scientific publishing, who added their perspectives to those of the group leaders. The session proved highly illuminating, sparking discussions that continued through the conference dinner.
Delegate feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 100% rating the conference as excellent or above average. We were delighted to declare ChemBiOx 2019 a success!
We are proud to have raised £16,000 to make ChemBiOx 2019 possible and are extremely grateful to our sponsors and exhibitors: Novo Nordisk, GSK, Vertex, CAS, RSC Organic Division, UCB, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, Tetrahedron, Nature Communications Chemistry, Anachem (Exhibitor), and Shimadzu (Exhibitor). We would like to thank the RSC Chemical Biology and Bio-Organic Chemistry Group for generously sponsoring eight student travel bursaries, Evotec for sponsoring our drinks reception, the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry for sponsoring the student talk prize, and Nature Scientific Reports for sponsoring the poster prizes.
We would also like to thank the members of the ChemBiOx 2019 Advisory Board, in particular Professor Stuart Conway and Professor Akane Kawamura, for their support and guidance. Finally, thanks to Annette Miller and Lorraine Damerell, who provided invaluable administrative assistance, and to the conference and catering teams at Worcester and Somerville Colleges for hosting the event.