Richardson Travel Bursary Recipient, Ceyda Oksel, Reports from Washington DC

8 Jul 2015

Ceyda Oksel was awarded a Richardson Travel Bursary in 2015. Below, she reports on her attendance at the NanoTech 2015 Advanced Materials & Application conference, which was held in Washington DC, 14-17 June 2015.

‘Having received a Richardson travel bursary from SCI, I was able to attend the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, held in Washington DC. The conference was a world-class event designed to create an extraordinary week where innovation technology solutions were matched to real-world business challenges.

‘This event co-located with the largest global innovation programme in physical and life sciences and the joint programmes included the Nanotech 2015 Conference, the National Innovation Summit and the National SBIR/STTR Conference. It brought together more than 5,000 business and technical professionals including leading researchers, buyers, entrepreneurs, corporate business developers, investors, service providers, commercialisation/technology transfer officers, industry analysts and members of the media. Plenary sessions covered recent developments in advanced manufacturing, sustainable nanomaterial manufacturing, nanoscale characterisation, carbon nanostructures, cancer nanotechnology, polymer nanotechnology and two poster sessions covered many aspects of physical and life sciences.

‘Additionally, a wide variety of industrial impact workshops were organised which offered the opportunity to learn and connect with global innovation leaders in these one-day dynamic course programmes. I attended a workshop called ‘Nanomaterial characterisation for the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry’ which provided an overview of general characterisation methods including scanning probe microscopy, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, optical microscopy, x-ray diffraction, particle size analysis, and secondary ion mass spectroscopy as well as case studies from the biomed/pharma industry.

‘I also participated in the networking lunches and receptions which gave me the opportunity to practice my networking skills and approach the experts in my field with more focused and personal questions related to my PhD work.

‘I am currently in the third year of my PhD at the University of Leeds, Institute of Particle Science and Engineering, where I have been studying the impact of physico-chemical characteristics on the toxicity of nanomaterials. Therefore, the Nanomaterial Sustainability sessions focusing on health and environmental effects of nanoscale materials were particularly useful for me. These sessions gave me the opportunity to recall the basics and to learn more about the latest trends in the biological impacts of nanomaterials.

‘On the second day of the conference, I gave a talk entitled ‘NanoSAR: Linking the structure of engineered nanomaterials with their toxicity’. My talk was well-received and I was asked some interesting questions. After the talk, I had a chance to meet other professionals and academics working in the same fields and to discuss the outcomes of my research with a highly diverse audience.

‘Overall, the conference was very beneficial to me and I truly enjoyed my time in Washington D.C. It was my first time in this city and I was able to visit many places I have always wanted to go to, including famous museums, monuments and memorials.

‘After the conference, I went to Boston to visit the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for three days. It was a very valuable opportunity for me to get acquainted with the USACE Risk and Decision team and their work. There is also a possibility for me to go back for a longer period of time in near future.

‘Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to SCI for the financial help they have given me. The receipt of the Richardson Travel Bursary allowed me to attend a world-class conference in the capital of United States and also visit the US Army Corps of Engineers in Boston. This was a fantastic experience to present and discuss the results of my research project to an international audience and also to get in touch with leading scientists in the field. Thank you!’

Ceyda Oksel
PhD student, University of Leeds

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