Cancer Research Wales Student Takes Centre-Stage at Renowned International Conference

Jan-Philip Meyer, PhD Student at Cardiff University, writes about his time at the 15th Tetrahedron Symposium, a conference which discusses international developments in the fields of Bioorganic and Organic Chemistry. In their own words, they highlight “the key role of chemistry in the discovery and development of new therapeutic agents for human diseases”.

I was very delighted when, at the beginning of this year, the scientific committee of the 15th Tetrahedron Symposium told me my submitted abstract had been chosen for a scientific talk at this renowned major international conference for challenges in bioorganic and medicinal chemistry. Considering the program, the names and institutions of the speakers, I was a little awestruck at first, but then quickly realized what a great opportunity I had been given.

MeyerI then went ahead and booked a room and train tickets to London Kensington, where the conference was supposed to take place in June this year. Even though I’ve visited London quite a few times, I have never really been to Kensington before – a pity, I realised later, as this might be one of London’s most beautiful (and expensive!) areas.

The conference itself was very interesting, and a great place to see leading research and meet new people. I was a bit nervous prior to my talk, and tried to prepare a presentation as interesting as possible. I was talking about the main results of my research conducted at the Schools of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine at Cardiff University. My talk covered the synthesis of novel 18F-labelled radiotracer molecules for applications in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging – definitively a specialised field, but very exciting, combining all kinds of different disciplines such as Chemistry, Biology and Physics.

Nearly 700 people attended my talk in the main auditorium; most of them well respected scientists. Hence, I expected and prepared for non-trivial questions that, in the end, made me see my own research but also my results from different angles, which is very useful considering my upcoming PhD viva and future job interviews!

Altogether, I really benefitted from attending this conference. I was able to experience an exchange of knowledge at a very high international standard, and I realised, to quote Prof. Bradner of Harvard Medical School, “that presenting data is almost as important as generating them”.

I want to thank my supervisors and Cancer Research Wales for support not only for this event, but throughout my entire PhD.