PatrickBack in June, we (Esther & Patrick) travelled up to the University of Edinburgh, to take part in the first TransMed student conference, a student-organised event aimed at showcasing the work of 1st and 2nd year PhD students. The conference primarily brought together students from the medical imaging-focused CDTs from across the country, hoping to encourage interdisciplinary discussion in a friendly and unpressured environment.

To highlight the social nature of this student conference, we arrived in Edinburgh on the eve of the conference and met up with a number of the other attendees…in the pub. Included, were the members of the organising committee who put in a lot of effort throughout the conference, to ensure it was scientifically engaging yet sociable and fun.

The first full day was a mixture of talks and poster presentations on everything from smart glasses as reading aids, to the mapping of neuron connections in mouse brain samples. As a change of pace for the afternoon, we could choose to visit the Surgeon’s Hall museum or take a stroll up Arthur’s Seat. Given the lovely weather in Edinburgh (yes, you read that correctly), we both opted for the walk. For those who’ve never visited Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat is a remarkable geological feature that is the remnant of an extinct volcano, shaped over millennia by glacial erosion. The views from the top were incredible.

Esther Back at the conference centre, there was one final, boozy poster session/wine reception, before heading to dinner. The after dinner ceilidh was by far the highlight of the conference, with a live band accompanying our dancing well into the wee (local vernacular, check) hours. To explain, a ceilidh is like a barn dance, with a band playing traditional folk songs – the band leader instructs the dancers as the music is played.

The second (and final) day featured a fantastic talk from Stuart Cantrill on the nature of publishing (he’s the editor of Nature Chemistry). He introduced us to TOC ROFL, a tumblr blog that is definitely worth a look whilst your code/experiment is running! There was probably some other important information on publishing in there but silly graphical abstracts were what stuck.

As an unofficial end to the conference, we convened again in the Salisbury Arms, the same pub we met at when we arrived. All in all the conference was a fantastic couple of days, being able to meet with some very engaging students and talk about science.