NCMM Network Meeting 2018
NCMM’s Associate and Young Associate Investigators, Group Leaders and stakeholders gathered at Oslo’s Grand Hotel for the third annual NCMM Network Meeting on the 26 and 27 February.
The NCMM Network Meeting 2018
The invite-only meeting was designed to give NCMM’s wider network the opportunity to come together and hear more about one another’s research, and to explore the possibilities for potential collaboration.
The scientific programme started with NCMM’s recently appointed Assistant Director, Hartmut Luecke, who gave an introduction to his research into the survival of Helicobacter pylori at pH1 in the stomach.
Guests then heard from newly appointed Associate Investigator Emre Yaksi, Associate Professor at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Centre for Neural Computation. Emre shared his experiences of being an international recruit to Norway, and the process of moving his lab to Trondheim and of establishing his group there. He also discussed his experiences of applying and winning an ERC Starting Grant, and how he was able to fine-tune his approach after his first application was rejected.
This was followed by NCMM Director, Kjetil Taskén, who shared his experiences of being a member of the ERC Starting Grant panel, and gave an insight into how the process and candidate-scoring system works from the panel’s perspective.
New Associate and Young Associate Investigators introduced
The first day also allowed the NCMM Network to hear more from the most recently recruited Associate and Young Associate Investigators, who were appointed in the autumn of 2017 following an open call.
All newly-appointed Associate and Young Associate Investigators presented their research in the form of three-minute elevator pitches. This was followed by a poster session, designed to allow attendees to share an overview of their research and discover potential areas for collaboration.
The day finished with three talks from invited speakers under the theme of science communication in its varying forms.
Anne Hope Jahren, from the Department of Geosciences at UiO, shared her experiences of writing her debut best-seller non-fiction novel, Lab Girl. Professor Jahren discussed why she had felt the need to write her story, and how communicating her research in this way helped her to understand more about the personal importance of her research and why it mattered.
Dr Sam Illingworth, a Senior Lecture in Science Communication from Manchester Metropolitan University, then gave a detailed talk into how researchers can benefit from social media. Dr Illingworth shared how he uses social media in its various forms to benefit his own career, and also gave an insight into how he uses poetry to help build a better understanding between scientists and non-scientists.
The day ended with a talk from palaeontologist, Jørn Harald Hurum, focusing on scientific outreach, and why it is so important. Professor Hurum shared the story of how he has generated global media attention for his work, discussing tactics such as the first ever live-feed dig that uncovered an enormous short-necked plesiosaur, the Pliosaurus funkei, and the interest he was able to generate around his acquisition of Ida, the ‘missing link’, believed to be one of our earliest ancestors.
Collaborative Research Projects
The second day featured further scientific talks, offering a more detailed insight into a number of research projects. The first part of the session highlighted some collaborative research projects currently underway within the NCMM Network.
Associate Investigator, Ole A. Andreassen, Professor and Director at NORMENT, presented some of his research, in particular highlighting a collaboration with former NCMM Group Leader, Ian Mills. The project received a small grant from NCMM and examines the genetics of complex disorders and the synergies between cancer and mental illness.
Young Associate Investigator, Hege Russnes, from the Department of Cancer Genetics (Oslo University Hospital), then presented some findings generated from a collaborative project between her group and that of NCMM Group Leader, Anthony Mathelier. This project was initiated thanks to funding from NCMM for collaborative projects that was made available in 2017.
NCMM Group Leader, Camila Esguerra, gave an overview into one of her current projects. The study aims to decipher the mechanism of action of Aryl-tumerone, a compound with potent anticonvulsant activity. Dr Esguerra is also currently working on collaborations with two other NCMM Associate Investigators, Anne Simonsen and Thomas Arnesen.
Wider research within the NCMM Network
The final three talks focused on wider research topics. Newly appointed NCMM Associate Investigator, Rolf Skotheim, Group Leader of the Genome Biology Group at Oslo University Hospital, then presented some of his research into how the human genome can be used to drive predictive medicine, and how improving diagnostics can make medicine
Bjørn Tore Gjertsen, Professor at the Department of Clinical Science (University of Bergen/Haukeland University Hospital) discussed clinical trial design for precision medicine, including his collaboration with the Biobank facility at FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland), and his work in developing clinical trials for AML (acute myeloid leukemia).
Dr Pia Abel Zur Wiesch, Group Leader at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Tromsø, rounded off the event with an insight into how she uses mathematical modelling to make antibiotics more efficient. She described her work with TB and hospital-acquired infections, and strategies for antimicrobial dosing strategies and drug resistance.
NCMM wishes to thank everyone for their attendance and participation in the 2018 Network Meeting. We look forward to the next event.