Courtney Boyd reports from the 14th Euro Fed Lipid Congress

With generous support from the SCI Lipids group, I was able to attend the 14th Euro Fed Lipid Congress in Ghent, on 18-21st September 2016. Ghent provided a beautiful backdrop for a lively and diverse meeting covering a vast range of topics, with the overarching theme of ‘innovative approaches towards a sustainable future’.

My talk took place within the ‘Analytics, Authenticity and Lipodomics’ section. Despite registration difficulties, I am hugely thankful to the conference organisers for placing my talk within this interesting session, dedicated to the use of techniques such as mass spectrometry and NMR to assess a range of lipid properties. While my work focuses on the use of lipids as a model membrane system to understand membrane protein structure and function, it was interesting to see these familiar techniques in the analysis of lipids rather than protein structure.

With so many parallel sessions on offer, the venue made it easy to sample a variety of different talks. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the results of various long-term clinical trials on the effect of dietary lipid on child development, an exciting and complete new field to me! This was also facilitated by the extensive range of posters on offer, ranging from vegan chocolate production to electronic noses. This made it easy to engage with a selection of new techniques and fields of research that I would not otherwise have come across in my PhD. In particular, the opening lecture by Herman Konings gave a whole new perspective and outlook to the change of perception of fats and oils among consumers that has happened over the past few years.

My highlight of the conference was the Chevreul Medal lecture given by David Weitz. This highly engaging talk give a fantastic overview of the brilliant work done by David and his lab into formation of stable asymmetric bilayers, highly tuneable in size, shape and multi-layered encapsulation, a game changer for the future of model membrane systems.

I would like to say a huge thank you to SCI for their support which enabled me to attend and present my work at an international level. I learnt a lot during my time at the conference and it has provided me with an invaluable insight into the wider field of lipid research, inspiring many questions and ideas that I can apply throughout the remainder of my PhD.

Courtney Boyd
Imperial College, London

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