It’s conference season in the academic world and lots of us are preparing our presentations or already away with our extended academic community. I’m currently in the beautiful city of Montreal at the International Society of Microbial Ecology, the #ISME16 meeting. It’s probably the most significant conference for me, covering virtually every area of my research interests. Also I’m ‘time served’ on ISME, having been elected onto the Executive from 2001 to 2012, including being Vice President, President (twice) and Board member and am now the UK Ambassador. If you don’t know this learned society – it’s big! The meetings are generally over 2000 delegates from 60-70 different countries, so it’s a massive exchange of the latest findings in this important field of Microbiology.

Being at the meeting, enjoying interactions with colleagues old and new over 5 days has me reflecting on past meetings of ISME. Early this week I ran, with two senior scientists, a packed session (500+ delegates at their first ISME meeting) for early career researchers to help them get the most from the conference and support them to get started in networking to enhance their research and opportunities. This very much reminded me of my first ISME meeting, ISME4 in Ljubljana in 1986, so exactly 30 years ago. I was there alone as a post- doc researcher badly in need of my next academic job. I took my first ever poster (I’d no idea how to make a poster so overdid the glue and it stuck on the poster board unaided!) and had to learn how to get the most from the conference by making a lot of mistakes first. For example, I tried to catch a bus from my hotel to the conference centre but inadvertently stood on the wrong side of the road, ended up on a bus that went slowly into the hills and stopped at a terminus a long way from the conference centre. The bus driver and I looked at each other, I couldn’t understand any Serbo-Croat but assumed that the bus would eventually go back into the city, which luckily it did!

In fact I had a job offer before I left Heathrow, bumping into someone who became highly influential in my career, Bill Costerton, when the flight was delayed. (I was working at Calgary University with him two months later.) I recall sitting in the opening ceremony in awe of all that was going on around me, little did I know that one day it would be me on the stage as ISME President, opening the ISME meetings in Cairns and then Seattle in 2008 and 2010. Yesterday, when speaking to the early career researchers I told them of this story of my first ISME meeting and that I was ‘keeping the stage warm for them’ as we need some of them to take over running the Society, to ensure our subject continues to flourish. I always enjoy these sessions with young researchers and work with them, visiting their posters and discussing their research.

On the final day of ISME16 I will present the Bill Costerton prize to the best young scientist’s poster, in memory of this fine scientist. And it reminds me too of how its important that senior scientists give time to support our next generation too.

More information about Professor Lappin-Scott and her work can be found at the following links:

Linkedin,  Swansea TedXTalk,  STEM ‘Pioneer’ Award 2017,  WISE Award 2016,  Womenspire Award 2017, Soapbox Science,  Swansea Uni PVC profile, Research Gate

 

August 25th, 2016

Posted In: Uncategorized

3 Comments

  • I wanted to draft you one little note to finally say thanks a lot the moment again over the exceptional principles you have documented in this case.

    It was so incredibly generous with you to deliver unreservedly precisely what a number of people would’ve
    distributed for an ebook to help with making some money for
    their own end, even more so considering that you could possibly have done
    it if you wanted. The pointers as well worked as a fantastic way to fully grasp that the rest have
    the identical desire really like my very own to
    find out lots more when it comes to this problem. I know there are thousands of more pleasurable instances in the future for many who scan your site. https://vue-forums.uit.tufts.edu/user/profile/344120.page

  • Linda Blackall says:

    Great reminiscence! Wish I could have been at ISME 2016. Sadly the academic year in Australia starts first week in August and since I have a busy teaching load, ISME is not possible for me.

    • hilary.lappin-scott says:

      Thanks Linda and we did miss you. We sat at the ISME Presidents lunch and reminisced over your work for the wonderful Cairns meeting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php

© Swansea University

Hosted by Information Service and Systems, Swansea University