Posted on 15th October 2021 by bwarman

Celebrating the work of our PhD students

Celebrating the work of our PhD studentsOn 28th September, we held our annual PhD Day - an event that celebrates the work of the postgraduate research students at the Barts Cancer Institute (BCI), Queen Mary University of London. Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held online via Zoom for the second year running.

At the BCI there are approximately 140 postgraduate research students, consisting of both scientists and clinicians, working on a range of cancer research projects across our six Research Centres. Organised by the BCI PhD Forum, this year’s PhD Day was a fantastic showcase of the work being undertaken by our research students, who shared information about their research in the form of poster presentations, 3-minute thesis (3MT) presentations and 10-minute presentations.

Rebecca Drake, member of the BCI PhD Forum said:

“Although we still couldn’t have an in-person event, I think the virtual PhD day worked really well. At least 100 people joined online throughout the day and over 50 PhD students were able to present posters in breakout rooms, plus several students delivered some amazing short talks to the main group. We had a social event in person in the evening, which was a great chance to network with new and existing PhD students. We also have had so much positive feedback from Henry Scowcroft’s interesting keynote speaker discussion, leading many people to buy his book and lots of students keen on pursuing careers in Sci Comms.”

Insights into Science Communication with Henry Scowcroft

As this year’s keynote speaker, the PhD Forum invited Henry Scowcroft for an open discussion with our staff and students about science communication. Henry is an award winning science writer and communications strategist for Cancer Research UK (CRUK). Since joining the charity in 2003, Henry has worked on many of CRUK’s media campaigns as well as setting up, editing and writing for its digital news platform.

Henry has recently published a book - ‘Cross Everything’ - about the experience of losing his partner to bladder cancer, which has also led to him taking on a number of advocacy and involvement roles, including with the National Cancer Research Institute’s bladder and renal research group.

Our staff and students were very interested to hear about Henry’s path into science communication and had many important questions to ask, including ‘how can researchers improve their science communication skills?’ and ‘what opportunities are there for researchers to get involved with science communication and outreach?’

Announcement of the award winners

At the end of the day, Dr Sarah Martin, Director of Graduate Studies for Research at BCI, announced the prize winners. For each session, students and BCI’s Principal Investigators (PIs) voted for their favourite presentations. Congratulations to this year’s winners:

  • Poster Prize
    PI vote: Leonie Kohlhammer - ‘Rho kinase (ROCK) controls nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of pro-tumorigenic transcription factors’
    Student vote: Valentine Gauthier - ‘Engineering tumour microenvironments with controlled expression of extracellular matrix proteins’
  • 3MT Prize
    PI vote: Caitlin Davies - ‘Cracking The Code (CTC)’
    Student vote: Joash Joy - ‘Driving CARs against Ovarian Cancer’
  • 10-minute presentation Prize
    PI vote: Doriana Di Bella - ‘Investigating the role of ER stress and UPR activation in the AML microenvironment’
    Student vote: Demi Wiskerke - ‘Circumventing resistance to EGFR targeted therapy in glioblastoma’

PhD students Joash Joy (left) and Caitlin Davies (right) presenting their 3MT presentations at BCI PhD Day 2021.


Well done to all of our students who presented at this year’s PhD Day!

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