Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, a great success

The second annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases symposium was held on Tuesday 28 May 2013 at the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and was deemed by all to be a great success!

We were delighted to welcome over 180 registrants to the event.  All who attended took part in a day packed with fascinating talks and lively poster sessions.  The talks ranged across the spectrum of subjects studied in Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, from cllinical diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, to treatment programmes for helmith erradication and transcriptional control in pathogenic bacteria. 

L to R:  Very entertaning speaker Jacqui Matthews (Moredun Research Institute); Ian Harper (Social and Political Science); a qeustion at one example of many lively discussion sessions (All photos are courtesy of Norrie Russell, Roslin Institute)

More details about the speakers are given below.

  • KATE TEMPLETON (Department of Laboratory Medicine, Little France) Respiratory pathogens and their diagnosis
  • PAUL DIGARD (Roslin Institute) Influenza virus replication and pathogenesis
  • KARL OPARKA (Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences) Super-resolution imaging of virus infection in plants
  • IAN HARPER (School of Social and Political Science) Understanding TB Control: Technologies, Ethics and Programmes
  • HARISH NAIR (Centre for Population Health Sciences) Ker Memorial Prize Winner - Role of seasonal influenza in the aetiology of hospitalised acute lower respiratory infections in young children
  • LISA REYNOLDS (Institute of Immunology and Infection Res.) Ker Memorial Prize Winner - Intestinal microbiota in regulation of immunity to the helminth parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus
  • JACQUI MATTHEWS (Moredun Research Institute) Mass treatment programmes for helminth eradication; a veterinary perspective
  • KATIE SMITH (Institute of Immunology and Infection Res.) Alarmin immunity to parasite infection
  • JAI TREE (Roslin Institute / Institute of Cell Biology) Small RNAs in E. coli O157
  • DONALD DAVIDSON (Centre for Inflammation Research) Host defence peptides in infection / inflammation
  • ROB WILKINSON (University of Cape Town, South Africa) Ker Memorial Lecture - The breath, heart and mind of HIV-associated tuberculosis

Ker Memorial Prize and Lecture

During the course of the symposium we were delighted to award the Ker Memorial Prize to two outstanding PhD students - Harish Nair, supervised by Harry Campbell at the Centre for Population Health Sciences, and Lisa Reynolds, supervised by Rick Maizels in the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research here in Edinburgh. 

We were also very pleased to welcome Prof Rob Wilkinson from the Institute Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as the Ker Memorial Lecturer.  Rob gave an inspiring talk on the challenges and approaches to treating HIV-associated TB infection.  It was fitting to hear that Rob had carried out some of his initial medical training in Edinburgh, under the tutelage of Prof Clifford Leen, who is now one of the organisers of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases.

L to R:  Packed lecture theatre for the talks; winners of the Ker Memorial Prize with their doctoral supervisors, from the left:  Harish Nair, Rick Maizels, Lisa Reynolds, Tony Nash, Harry Campbell; Ker Memorial Lecturer Rob Wilkinson, second from right, with Clifford Leen, Ian Harper, Sue Welburn and Rick Maizels

Opportunity for interaction with colleagues

The symposium was organised to allow ample time for viewing posters and making those important links with colleagues across the University and beyond.  The prize for the best poster by a student or postdoc was won by Wayne Hsieh in the Division of Pathway Medicine for his poster on "Direct coupling of the 25-hydroxycholesterol sterol metabolic network to the interferon antiviral response".  In fact this was the second consecutive time that Wayne has won the poster prize as he also won last year - many congratulations! 

The day concluded with a convivial drinks reception, which was enjoyed by many!

L to R:  The poster sessions were well attended; Wayne Hsieh being awarded his prize by Rick Maizels;  the wine reception at the end of a great day


We were pleased to see from the feedback we received from participants that the event was stimulating and useful.  We also acknowldge that the poster space was a bit crowded and hopefully we will have more space next year.  A few of the comments submitted are given below.

Excellent keynote speaker

Very informative and stimulating

Posters too crowded, more open display needed; really enjoyed the day!

Great - good for interacting/learning science across Edinburgh, very importantly, event was inclusive

It was a really enjoyable, stimulating meeting – every talk was both interesting and scientifically exciting and the opportunities for discussion in such a vibrant research community were excellent in a really pleasant setting.  I haven’t enjoyed a scientific meeting so much in ages

Getting ready for next year

And in case you were wondering when we will do this all again, the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh has been booked for Wednesday 21 May 2014 - put the date in your diary now!

Thanks to our sponsors

And finally we are very grateful to our sponsonrs who helped make the event such a success.


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