Dr Michelle Ma, CDT supevisor and postgraduate research coordinator at King’s College London:
Being one of the postgraduate research coordinators at King’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, alongside my normal teaching and research, I also oversee postgraduate research (PGR) activities, including those of CDT students. The annual PGR symposium is one of the best parts of being a postgraduate research coordinator. I get to work with terrific students, watch them develop their communication skills, and at the end of it all, sit back and enjoy learning about all of the really diverse research we are doing.
The best part of the event is definitely seeing people interact around their research. There were three highlights for me. In no particular order: (i) I loved the poster sessions – there are all these little nuclei of people huddled around students’ posters, pointing at images and data and waving their hands about excitedly. (ii) It was really great having Professor Prashant Jha giving the plenary talk about affordable medical devices that he has developed for clinical use. The actual technology itself is amazing, and the fact that he had just been appointed as Head of Affordable Medical Technologies at King’s added to the buzz. (iii) I always find student talks really impressive. Our students are really versatile, and it’s interesting to see how projects progress from basic science to clinical imaging, or how someone develops new imaging tools to help understand diseases.
There are always unavoidable blips that happen along the way, and they teach you to stay calm and carry on. Sometimes they are big (like a plenary speaker who just so happens to be a surgeon getting stuck in a surgery) and sometimes they are small (like a tray of biscuits going missing). This year, all biscuits, brownies, cakes and appetisers were present and correct, but one of our plenary speakers was indeed stuck in surgery! Luckily, one of her excellent colleagues was able to fill in. Dr Peter Macneal arrived 10 minutes before he was due to speak, and was able to tell us all about the role Proximie has played in virtual surgery. Thank you Dr Macneal!