November 29, 2016 | News

News from the 2016 Imaging CoE Summit

The 2016 Imaging CoE Summit was held over two and a half days – from Monday 7 Nov to Wednesday 9 Nov – at the quiet seaside town of Torquay in Melbourne, Australia.

We had 132 Imaging CoE-affiliated researchers attend the summit and 88 abstracts submitted.

Our newly appointed ISAC member, Ilme Schlichting, from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, gave an informative talk about the advances made and challenges facing the use of XFELs for determining protein structures and dynamics. Jeff Errington, our ISAC chair-elect, showed some very cool visuals of L-form bacteria and his research could change the way we deal with bacterial infections using antibiotics.

Fiona Cameron, Executive Director of ARC, joined us on Tuesday and gave a comprehensive overview of what we can expect during our mid-term Centre of Excellence review. This was the final presentation of the summit, and was a very nice capstone to our event as all CoE staff members will likely be involved, in one way or another, in our preparations for the mid-term review which will be held in mid-2017.

To encourage the novel collaborations that CoEs are designed to produce, our CIs nominated one of their postdocs to give an overview of the research being conducted within their group. Not an easy task when delivering to an audience of peers with different knowledge and research backgrounds!

Those giving an oral presentation were given an even trickier task – to present a poster at one of the two poster sessions and to give a two-minute spiel about their poster to generate interest.

We had two poster talk sessions, each featuring more than 30 two-minute talks, and boy did they run to time – big thanks to the chairs and presenters and to our presentations skills facilitator Judy Ford. They kept to time and were brilliant at explaining their science coherently and concisely to a multi-disciplinary audience.

Our International Advisory Committee were so impressed by the professionalism and the good humour the posters were presented with – both on and off the stage – that they awarded three first prizes: Jessica Rowley (UQ), ‘Designing probes to explore the interaction between C3a and innate immunity’, Charles Bayly-Jones (Monash), ‘Structure of aE11-polyC9 complex reveals conformation-specific neoantigen of the membrane attack complex’, and Yuanqing Ma (UNSW), ‘A FRET-based membrane charge sensor’.

Poster prizes were awarded at the summit dinner on Tuesday night. The dinner was a great way for our diverse cohort to meet and mingle. We used a random number generator to organise the seating plan to maximise our nodes mixing and forming new collaborations.

As an interdisciplinary research centre, we take our role of connecting our researchers, helping them communicate their discoveries and ensuring all needs are being met in the fields of imaging and immunology very seriously. To these ends, the 2016 Summit was a great success; we had 22 long form talks, 63 short-poster talks and 66 posters in all. This all serves as testament to the hard work of everyone in the Imaging CoE over our first two and a half years.