The National Heart and Lung Institute's (NHLI) Postgraduate Research Day provides a great platform to showcase research from across the Department.
The Wolfson Education Centre at Hammersmith Hospital opened its doors for the NHLI's 12th annual Postgraduate Research (PGR) day last month.
The annual event gives our second and third year PhD students the opportunity to deliver poster and oral presentations to academics and their peers in a conference setting, whilst giving first year students the chance to listen in and get a taste of things to come in the following years. This year the event saw 43 students deliver poster presentations, while 25 students gave oral presentations simultaneously.
I took the opportunity to ask a few of this year's attendees their thoughts on the day, including those who had either presented their work or come along as one of our current senior academics to see the research on display.
"Whether just starting as an NHLI Principal Investigator or an established PI it really is a golden opportunity to see our Institute’s research showcased” Professor Miriam Moffatt
Professor Tony Magee, the current Director of Postgraduate Studies for NHLI, led the proceedings and told me the following:
“As far as I’m aware, NHLI was the first Department in the College to run something like this, and many other Departments have since implemented similar ideas. Over the years the format has changed somewhat, but we’ve now arrived at a format that we think works well. It’s a great opportunity for students to hear about each other’s work, present posters and short talks in the style of a professional conference, and to get feedback on their presentation style and research. This year we added a short information session at the end to remind students of key milestones, dates and requirements in their second and third years and thesis preparation and submission, and give them a few useful tips".
Miriam Moffatt, Professor of Respiratory Genetics, carried out marking on the day and spoke of her enthusiasm for the event, saying that it is a “fantastic event as it uniquely showcases the breadth of research -respiratory, cardiovascular and research that cuts across both themes - that is taking place within the NHLI”. She added, “it is equivalent to attending a highly specialised conference, and the standard of talks and posters I find to be really excellent. Whether just starting as an NHLI Principal Investigator (PI) or an established PI it really is a golden opportunity to see our Institute’s research showcased and attendance at the whole day is an invaluable commitment of one’s time as well as a chance to interact with the next generation of researchers”.
One of the Clinical Research Fellows who presented on the day, Dr Claire McBrien, also had positive feedback about the day, "Presenting a poster at the PGR day was very similar to the experience you would expect at an international conference. Listening to the oral presentations was a highlight. The added bonus was that, as the audience consisted of Imperial College London staff and students, they were particularly well-informed and often had personal experience of the kinds of research question, techniques and even specific laboratories that the presenters were discussing".
Dr Justin Garner, one of the prize winners, told me "The PGR day was fantastic! It offered students the opportunity to showcase their research and to get experience of presenting on a platform in front of peers, simulating what might be expected of us at an international conference level. The highlights for me were being an audience member to many of the great oral presentations from both clinical and non-clinical areas. And of course the wine reception at the end of the day! The event keeps on improving year on year - thanks to Tony Magee, Tony Umelo and Eleanor Tucker - and I'm looking forward to next year already!".
Dr Claire Edmondson, another of our prize winners, said "It was interesting to hear how other people at a similar point in their research were doing and to discuss results and future plans, as well as reassuring to hear that other people also had issues during their research, such as assays not working, and how they managed to overcome them. I particularly enjoyed the respiratory talks, such as learning about the use of novel imaging techniques or treatments, as it is my area of research". Reflecting on how the day may benefit her in the future Claire noted "It is always good to be able to talk about your research as this potentially opens up doors for future collaborations". She also suggested a possible change to the day "I think that the day may benefit from being split into respiratory research and cardiology research as there were some basic science talks I missed that I would have liked to have seen as I was in the parallel clinical session".
Congratulations to all of those who took part, and thank you to those who joined us and contributed towards the day making it such a success.
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