10 Aug 2013
Glenn Hurst received a Rideal Travel Bursary to attend the 14th European Student Colloid Conference at the Max Planck Institute in Germany from 10 - 13 June 2013. Here he reports on his experiences:
As this was a student conference, most of the presenters doing oral presentations were final year PhD students and research assistants.
My own presentation was entitled Smart Hydrogel Development for Combination with pH Oscillators. It explained how pH sensitive hydrogel for combination with oscillatory reactions is developed for potential applications in targeted drug delivery, tissue engineering, actuation and separation. My presentation included investigating the smart properties, mechanical behaviour and morphology of the networks via a variety of techniques.
Thanks to attending this event I had the opportunity to develop my public speaking and presentation skills. I answered a number of questions on my talk, which subsequently led me to pursue new experiments upon my return.
Many PhD students attending the conference presented posters, with the majority of the research based on colloidal systems. I learned a few new techniques that I can apply to my PhD to corroborate my existing results.
I was very pleased to meet Helmuth Mohwald, who gave a fascinating talk on encapsulation and release. This is extremely relevant to my work, as we are currently examining the loading and release of behaviour of therapeutic moieties from hydrogel networks. Some students also presented interesting modelling studies and we talked about combining my experimental work with their theoretical models in the future.
This conference will have a large impact on my career, because as well as presenting an oral presentation, I was invited to chair a session, Surfactants and Sustainability / Bioinspired Materials, which was a fantastic experience.
I have shared my findings from the conference with my research group, led by Dr Katarina Novakovic. The group will benefit from the dissemination of the work done in our lab, and also from the new ideas and collaborations initiated for work in the future. The COST training school, which formed part of the conference, was particularly useful. It nicely bridged the gap between undergraduate taught material and research in the lab.
The conference organisation (by students!) was superb and it has inspired me to initiate my own conference: the Northern Postgraduate Chemical Engineering Conference, which took place from 8 - 9 August 2013 at Newcastle University.