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Zing Polymer Chemistry Conference

Stacy Slavin

19 Dec 2010

Messel Bursar Stacy Slavin reports on the the Zing Polymer Chemistry conference in Mexico.

From 19-22 November 2010, I attended and presented some of my PhD work at the Zing Polymer Chemistry conference held in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. This was a fantastic conference, organised by Prof Heather Maynard and Prof Eva Harth. In attendance were many world renowned academics in my research field which gave me a great opportunity to discuss chemistry and also interact in a social context with them. 

The programme was excellent, providing cutting-edge research which enabled me to expand my knowledge in this field. Furthermore, there was an exciting poster session where many PhD students and post docs presented their work with lively discussions over Mexican cocktails! Puerto Morelos was a beautiful location for the conference; the venue was the Ocean Coral Resort which is a five star hotel and conference centre offering an excellent place to spend some time. It provided the perfect environment to learn and take away new ideas for my own research.

Eight sessions were held in total with 43 speakers selected from around the world. Since there were no parallel sessions this allowed everyone attending the conference to attend every presentation. The eight session topics were: Chemical Biology, Particles and Capsules, Degradable Polymers, Hydrogels in Medicine, Surfaces and Membranes, New Chemistries, siRNA and DNA delivery and finally Bioconjugation.

I was very fortunate to be one of the few PhD students selected to give a presentation at this conference which allowed me to present some of my PhD work to my peers and important scholars in the field. I give my talk  ’Reactive PEG polymers for covalent conjugation to biological surfaces’ during the ‘New Chemistries’ session, and was asked questions by leading academics following my presentation. 

Attending this conference was a great opportunity for me to raise my profile in the scientific community and this will hopefully prove beneficial to my career prospects. I have started my fourth and final year of my PhD and therefore I am now looking to apply for post doctoral positions beginning in 2012.

Firstly I have to thank my supervisors Prof Dave Haddleton and Dr Ezat Khoshdel for allowing me to attend the conference and SCI for awarding me the Messel travel bursary - I greatly appreciate it! Furthermore I am thankful to the organisers for selecting my abstract for presentation. The conference was organised in a way to incorporate networking opportunities alongside chemistry discussions. This provided ample opportunities to meet academics informally while in a lovely location. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and have met many new friends and contacts within the polymer chemistry network. Finally I would recommend all PhD students enquire about presenting their work at this type of conference as it is both scientifically and socially worthwhile to the lowly research student -and best of all - it is possible if you apply for travel bursaries via SCI as this reduces the cost of the conference and makes your supervisor very happy!

After the conference I used the opportunity to explore the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula and one of the seven new wonders of the world: Chichen-Itza.

Stacy Slavin
University of Warwick

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