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Messel Travel Bursary Recipient, Carl Oster, Reports from Kyoto, Japan

Carl Oster, Messel Travel Bursary recipient, reports from Kyoto, Japan.

2 Nov 2016

In 2016, Carl Oster was awarded an SCI Travel Bursary to attend the International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems (ICMRBS) which took place at the Kyoto International Conference Centre, Japan between 21 and 26 August 2016. Here, he tells us how attending the conference allowed him to share his new results with world leading researchers in the field of NMR in biological systems.

‘The International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems (ICMRBS) is organised every second year and gathers the world leading research community in the fields of solid and solution state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) in biological systems. Additionally, research in the fields of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance in biological systems is discussed. There were also interesting talks on related techniques such as Electron Microscopy and X-Ray crystallography and how to combine these with NMR for structural studies.

‘I am in the final year of my PhD at the University of Warwick, studying the structure and dynamics of large biomolecular complexes using solid and solution state NMR. I wanted to attend the ICMRBS to learn more what other groups around the world are currently working on and see if I could get any new ideas for my own work. I also wanted to try to figure out what options are available for a potential post-doctoral position after I finish my PhD.

‘The conference took place in a magnificent building, the Kyoto International Conference Centre and was very well organised with key note and plenary lectures first thing in the morning and last in the evening with parallel sessions in-between. There were several interesting topics in the parallel sessions and many times I had to run between rooms ta catch the talks I believed most interesting. The topics I tried to follow most were: ‘Biological solid state NMR’, ‘Membrane proteins and lipids’, ‘Biomolecular interactions’ and ‘Dynamics’. My main interest is solid state NMR, which has become very popular lately to study proteins and there were many talks about various interesting biological systems studied by solid state NMR.

‘The poster presentations were well organised, there were more than 300 posters and the presentations were spread out over 3 days so it wasn’t too crowded around the posters during the presentations. I presented a poster entitled ‘Accelerated 15N R Relaxation Dispersion in a Large Protein Complex in the Solid State’. There was a lot of interest from people working on similar things in solution and I also had an interesting discussion with an academic working on method developments for faster acquisition of data.

‘In addition to the conference program which stretched from the evening of Sunday 21 August until lunch time on Friday 26 August there were two satellite workshops, one on Sunday 21 August on new developments in high field NMR and one on structure determinations on the free afternoon of Wednesday the 24 August. I attended both of these workshops. In the first workshop I learned a lot about how NMR magnets are built to reach higher magnetic fields than what is currently available and how these higher fields may allow nuclei that are currently unavailable for biological NMR, most importantly 17O, to be studied. In the second workshop, which was more directly relevant to my research, I learned about several different types of software available for the different steps of protein structure determination. I will try a few new things that were described there, such as algorithms used to reconstruct spectra recorded with non-uniform sampling and processing tools to clean up noisy data.

‘I would like to thank SCI for awarding me a Messel Travel Bursary enabling me to attend the 27th ICMRBS in Kyoto and discussing my new results with world leading researchers in the field of NMR in biological systems. I got a lot of new ideas from attending this conference and I feel that I have a better overview of what kind of research is being undertaken around the world in my field which will be very important when I am considering the next step of my career.’

Carl Oster
PhD Student, University of Warwick

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