Messel Travel Bursary recipient Marta Barniol-Xicota reports from 5th SCI/RSC Symposium on Ion Channels

21 Apr 2016

Marta Barniol-Xicota was recently awarded a Messel Travel Bursary to support her attendance at the 5th SCI/RSC Symposium on Ion Channels as Therapeutic Targets, organised by SCI’s Fine Chemicals Group and RSC’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector. Ms Barniol-Xicota holds a degree in Pharmacy from the Universidad de Barcelona and is currently in the last year of her PhD studies. Here she tells us about her experience at this Symposium.

‘The 5th SCI/RSC Symposium on Ion Channels as Therapeutic Targets, took place on 14 and 15 of March 2016 in the Wellcome Trust Conference Centre in Cambridge (UK). This event reunited experts from the world of academia and industry, from several fields of science who are devoted to ion channel research.

‘The SCI bursary allowed me to attend the aforementioned Symposium, which was a huge push for my formation and of utmost help, as this year I will be holding the defence of my thesis entitled Small molecules as ion channels modifiers. During the conference I was able to enjoy excellent talks by globally recognised experts, coming from all over the world. This allowed me to expand my knowledge about medicinal chemistry, which has been my major discipline, and also learn about the newest cutting-edge techniques for protein structure determination, such as Cryo-Electron Microscopy.

‘Aside from the talks, thanks to the coffee breaks and the networking dinner, I also had the invaluable opportunity to informally converse with the speakers to exchange opinions, and for them to solve my scientific doubts and questions. Moreover, I was able to meet other PhD students coming from different universities and disciplines which, apart from exchanging experiences, tips and advices, led to establishing a new collaboration within our universities to carry out a joint research project!

‘Nearing the end of my PhD, I have to decide what my next step will be and this experience assured me that I will keep on the research pathway. Furthermore, I see my future in Europe, and having been able to network with scientists who I share research interests with and meet the international leaders in the field, has given me some idea for taking the right steps to pursue my career in the ion channel field.

To finish, I strongly believe this opportunity has been highly beneficial, both personally and professionally, as it has allowed me to be more aware of the way research is pointing and what will become the hot topics of the future. I am extremely grateful to SCI for providing funding for me to attend this scientific meeting and would be keen on participating again in the events they organize.

Marta Barniol-Xicota
PhD Student
Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry
Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutic Chemistry and Toxicology
Faculty of Pharmacy
Universitat de Barcelona

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