Chromatin & epigenetics workshop
Old Members Trust Travel Grant Report – Nadeza Fursova
In May 2019, I attended the workshop on Chromatin & Epigenetics organised by the European Molecular Biology Organisation in Heidelberg, thanks to the generous support of the Old Members Trust Travel Grant.
Four days of exciting science took place in a beautiful setting of the oldest university town in Germany, which like Oxford has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. Leading scientists from around the world gathered there not only to enjoy a stroll along the walls of the stunning Heidelberg Castle on a sunny spring day but also to discuss the most recent advances in the field of Epigenetics. The scientific programme of the meeting featured talks from both established group leaders and young researchers coming from diverse backgrounds. In addition to the excellent scientific curriculum, we had a lot of opportunities for networking and discussion. This was extremely useful for me as a final year DPhil student who is currently looking for future post-doc positions.
At the meeting, I presented my most recent findings which were published in the Molecular Cell journal just a couple of days before the conference. Specifically, I discovered the central determinants of gene silencing by the Polycomb repressive system, which is one of the major epigenetic regulators that plays an essential role in control of early embryonic development. To achieve this, I had to utilise a combination of the cutting-edge genome engineering and state-of-the-art genomics techniques. I was extremely happy to receive a lot of complimentary feedback about my work from both established scientists and my peers.
This was a second time I attended this meeting, and once again I really enjoyed it. It has a unique atmosphere that encourages everyone, including young graduate students, to ask questions, share ideas and participate in discussions, which is not so common at other meetings I have been to. I would highly recommend attending this workshop in the future to all early career researchers interested in Gene regulation and Epigenetics.
In the background of my photo is an iconic double-helix staircase at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. A double helix represents a common shape of DNA molecules, which carry genetic information in our cells.