What is a better way to get to know your fellow PhD students than a 3 day trip to the Highlands? On the Friday 21st of September a group of 28 PhD students and 3 Master's students together with a postdoctoral researcher from BCDD Dr. Norma Padilla-Mejia and a volunteer PI Dr. Mattie Pawlovic set out for a 3 day adventure in Abernethy Activity Center in Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire.
The trip started with a BBQ and bonfire night at arrival to build up strength for the upcoming outdoor activities next day. Gorge walking, canoeing, archery and rock climbing were the activities prepared by the amazing instructors from the Abernethy Activity Center, making sure everyone gets to experience the Scottish wild nature. After a day of battling the cold waters of a mountain river, racing through Loch Morlich, climbing some crags, abseiling down a cliff or testing your aim with a bow the students delved into the first scientific activity - 1st year student poster session. In a friendly and laid back environment students presented their posters, exchanged feedback and discussed their work as well as rated each other's work and presentation skills. Next morning just before our time to leave, it was time for presentations from the 2nd-4th year PhD students, which were also rated by all students attending.
After counting the votes we would like to congratulate the winner of our Best Poster Prize - 1st year PhD student Alison McFarlane for a poster titled "Identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying oncogenic mutations in the KIT receptor" from her Master's project supervised by Dr. Ignacio Moraga Gonzalez, as well as the winner of our Best Presentation Prize - Elena Purlyte, a 3rd year PhD student supervised by Prof. Dario Alessi, for her talk "Investigating how Rab29 activates LRRK2 kinase". We would also like to congratulate a highly commended poster by Emma Sands and a highly commended talk by Guilherme Castro - both being less than a point away from the prizes!
It was a great weekend that has hopefully forged new friendships and made new cherished memories for everyone. PiCLS committee would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Mattie Pawlovic for her great contribution to our poster and presentation feedback, for being involved in the activities as well as for sharing her work, experience and advice with us. We would also like to thank the School of Life Sciences for funding this event and making it available for all PhD students.