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Synthetic collagen, protein microarrays and lipid bilayers – Sunday morning, #ACSSanFran

Synthetic collagen, protein microarrays and lipid bilayers – Sunday morning, #ACSSanFran

The “National Fresenius Award Symposium” celebrates researchers that have made amazing early career advances; this year the award went to Neal K. Devaraj, and this session was assembled in his honour.  Read more

Meeting report: 4th Single Molecule Localisation Microscopy Symposium

In the shadow of The Shard at the end of August, I joined about ~120 scientists at KCL for the 4th Single Molecule Localisation Microscopy Symposium. This 3-day meeting preceded the announcement in October that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry had been awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William E. Moerner for their contributions to the field of super-resolution (SR) microscopy (which includes SMLM approaches), but it was already very clear from the content and calibre of the programme that the field was having an important impact on several key areas of biological research.  Read more

Decoding neural circuit structure and function workshop

The last couple of months have been busy for the Nature Protocols editors, with Mel and I both travelling a fair amount. The end of September saw me heading off to Istanbul, Turkey for the EMBO workshop on “Decoding neural circuit structure and function”. I had been thinking a little warmth at the end of September would be a welcome change, but ironically I think it was actually warmer in London! And we didn’t really need all the rain to encourage us to attend sessions, given the excellent line up.  Read more

Modelling the molecules of life – a talk by Michael Levitt

Last night I went to an inspiring talk given by Michael Levitt, joint winner of the 2013 Nobel prize for chemistry. It was the 2014 Sir Ernst Chain Lecture at Imperial College, London. Starting with a project using lysozyme (where the co-ordinates for the computer input came from a ball and stick model and were typed onto punch cards) and early computer simulations of protein folding, to his more recent work on modelling ribosomes and eukaryote chaperonins, he presented a small slice of the amazing work that he and his collaborators have done. What was equally evident was the phenomenal advances in technology and computational power over the last 40 years.  Read more

Cancer genomics and beyond…

About a month ago, I attended the ‘Beyond the Genome (BTG): Cancer Genomics’ meeting in Boston—my second conference as Chief Editor of Nature Protocols (my first was the 2014 ARR meeting at the University of Sussex). The BTG meeting grabbed my attention for several reasons; firstly, the topic was more-or-less within my comfort zone; secondly, there was a heavy focus on bioinformatics (a rapidly developing and important field); and thirdly, the line-up was fantastic. Fortunately, it was a small meeting so I was able to pin down several of the key speakers, including Fred Alt, Gad Getz, Peter Park, Nuria Lopez-Bigas, Mike Schatz, Nils Gehlenborg, and Rosalie Sears, and poke my head into some of their ‘labs’ (offices).  Read more

Attending the HGV2014 conference — Not a sinking feeling

It was my first visit to the Emerald Isle, and most definitely worth it. However short, my three-day permanence in Belfast to attend The 15th International Meeting on Human Genome Variation and Complex Genome Analysis (HGV2014) was fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable.  Read more

My weekend at ESBOC

Cover of the program of the 1967 Gregynog Natural Products Symposium.Courtesy of Dr. James Redman.

My three days at the European Symposium on Biological and Organic Chemistry (ESBOC) did not start in the most auspicious way. Or, again, maybe they did. Well, Friday the 17th, the day of my departure, is a day of bad luck in Italy, much like Friday 13th is in many other countries (it may not sound like it given my name, but I am indeed Italian), and my stopover at Birmingham New Street station to catch my connection to Newtown (Powys), Wales, certainly got my heart pumping.  Read more