Monday, 12 January 2015

Plant Pathology PhD students - flex your presentation muscles at MBPP!

Once every year, scores of budding plant pathologists emerge from the confines of their greenhouses and laboratories and flock to a single location somewhere in the UK, where they share stories and alcohol….

This event is neither a natural mating phenomenon nor a ceremonial cult gathering. It is, rather, Molecular Biology of Plant Pathogens (MBPP) – an annual meeting held at a different venue in the UK each year. Its tried and tested formula – 1.5 days of student/postdoc oral presentations intermingled with keynotes from senior academics – is a brilliant way for PhD students (and postdocs) to flex their presentation muscles in front of a friendly, supportive audience of global plant pathology researchers. It also provides an excellent networking opportunity, all of which makes it a valuable exercise both in its own right but also in terms of preparing students for larger, international conferences (more on that in a follow-up post).

There is also the (in)famous ‘Pathology and Alcohol’ talk to attend, this year given by Dr. Chris Ridout on improving Barley for craft beer brewing. I can’t make any promises, but I rather envisage that this might involve some form of taste-based ‘sampling’, for scientific purposes of course, which is in itself a wonderful bonding exercise for plant pathologists. This is followed by a poster session and wine reception, and then of course the conference dinner, which provides further opportunities to network and perhaps scope out future collaborators or employers.

While accommodation is not included, the registration fee for MBPP also makes it an attractive and accessible meeting for students, at just £50 for both days, including lunches and the conference dinner. You may even be able to claim this back from your studentship grant. This year MBPP is taking place on 8th-9th April at the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol), so there’s still plenty of time to plan your experiments around it!

Meeting and registration details:

From the organisers:

MBPP provides an excellent forum for networking between junior and senior scientists. The primary focus is on providing PhD students and post-doctoral scientists the opportunity to give oral presentations in front of a wide range of national and international researchers.”

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