Messel Travel Bursary Recipient, Oscar Méndez-Lucio, Reports from Boston

11 Nov 2015

Oscar Méndez-Lucio was awarded a Messel Travel Bursary in 2015. Below, he describes how his attendance at the 250th ACS National Meeting, held between 16 - 20 August 2015, in Boston, USA, gave him the opportunity to meet with world-leading chemists as well as chemical industrialists and students.

‘In August I had the opportunity to attend the 250th ACS National Meeting that took place in Boston, Massachusetts. This would not have been possible without the support of SCI through the Messel Travel Bursary. The 250th ACS National Meeting is one of the largest conferences bringing together more than 14,000 attendees from all around the world. The general theme was ‘Innovation from discovery to application’ which matched perfectly with the original and ground-breaking science presented at this conference. During four days, more than 9,000 papers were presented covering many different areas, from the history of chemistry to supramolecular chemistry including organic, computational, physical and medicinal chemistry among others. Although more than 50 talks were presented simultaneously at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, it was very easy to plan ahead thanks to new technologies implemented by ACS such as mobile apps.

‘Being part of the 250th ACS National Meeting gave me the opportunity to meet and chat with world-leading chemists, people from chemical industry and students from different institutions. Meeting and receiving advice from recognised chemists was inspiring. At the same time, I got an idea of life outside academia when talking with people working in different industries.

‘The events that I enjoyed the most during the 250th ACS National Meeting were the poster sessions. More than 25 divisions of the ACS held at least one poster session where you can talk and exchange ideas directly with other students, principal investigators, and researchers. In addition to the division poster sessions, the most outstanding works were also presented at the ‘Sci-Mix’ event. This event brought together the best posters from each division, creating a multidisciplinary event across all branches of chemistry.

‘I had the opportunity to give a talk presenting the research I carried out during my PhD. My work was focused on computational analyses to study kinase inhibitors polypharmacology and to try to find new synergistic interactions. The talk was a great opportunity to practice my presentation skills in front of a large audience. I also got valuable feedback that can be useful for further stages of my project. During the Q&A session of my presentation I had the opportunity to discuss with chemists from other areas such as organic chemistry, biochemistry and physical chemistry. This helped me to see my project from different points of view.

‘One of the highlights of the 250th ACS National Meeting was the Chemical Exposition. This included more than 300 exhibitors including, publishers, chemical suppliers, software companies etc. During the expositions the attendees had the opportunity to speak directly to suppliers letting them know their needs but also getting information of new products and even obtaining wonderful offers. In my particular case I was able to talk to experts on the use of specialised software that helped me to solve problems. Other events were taking place together with the exhibition, including several workshops organised directly by the suppliers but most importantly the ACS Career Fair. Around 60 employers were looking for candidates to fill more than 200 positions in different countries. Apart from job offers, experts of the ACS Career Fair helped students (from high school to PhD) by providing career advice, interviews and CV workshops, etc.

‘Overall, participating in the 250th ACS National Meeting was a great experience. It was a great opportunity to meet colleagues from different countries and institutions. Also, it is the best scenario to start new collaborations and partnerships. Having all areas of chemistry together in one event reminded me how multidisciplinary the chemical sciences are and the great impact of them in everyday life. At this event I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with other students, talk to renowned scientists, get feedback from experts in the field and of course visit the chemical exhibition. I am deeply thankful to SCI for the financial support to attend this meeting and for making this experience possible.’

Oscar Méndez-Lucio
PhD Student, University of Cambridge

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