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President’s message: upcoming meetings – so much science, so little time!

Published: 16 Apr 2018
Category: President's message
By Stephen Hill

I write this during a break on day one of the Society’s sold-out Cell Signalling meeting at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. Congratulations to Gary Willars, John Challis and Andrew Tobin for putting together such an exciting programme, ably assisted by ‘local’ organisers Nick Holliday, Jill Baker and Leigh Stoddard.

The meeting kicked off with two exceptional presentations from my COMPARE colleague Davide Calebiro (University of Birmingham) and Rob Leurs (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Davide wowed the audience with his single molecule imaging videos whilst Rob introduced the younger members of the audience to “old school” pharmacology as he used the power of the isolated guinea-pig ileum preparation to illustrate the activity of his new photo-switchable G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) ligands.

Even if I wasn’t attending a meeting in my own “backyard”, I am sure I would still be struck by the professional and warm welcome the Society’s staff have given everyone here today, by the buzz around the venue, and by the stellar line up of experts in the field that delegates are enjoying hearing from.

I am particularly looking forward to introducing Patrick Sexton from Monash University who will give the JR Vane Medal Lecture later this afternoon on Class B GPCR structures.  I still remember persuading Patrick to join the Society over a few beers at the very first Cell Signalling meeting held at the University of Leicester during my term as Vice-President Meetings more than a decade ago. For those who can stay on until Wednesday, Leigh has also organised a Team Science symposium for early career researchers, followed by a lecture by Nobel Laureate Brian Kobilka.

This marks the start of the busiest run of meetings and events for the Society that I can remember. I always think that the quality and vibrancy of our scientific meetings is a good indicator of the health of the Society, and of the discipline of pharmacology more generally. If that is true, then the number and variety of events coming up over the next few weeks and months would suggest that our community has never been in better shape.

What’s on?

At the end of this week I will be flying out to San Diego to help the Society exhibit and network at the huge annual Experimental Biology conference (if you’ll be there, come and say hello to the team on stand 1101).

Current trends in drug discovery - 7 June 2018

Next month in Edinburgh, Pharmacology Futures will be looking at the innovations that will be driving drug development over the next few years. June begins with Current trends in drug discovery, our joint meeting with the Society for Medicines Research aimed at young researchers; followed by our popular PKPD workshop (the last one before 2020, so book a place while you can).

June will be rounded off by one of the scientific (and social!) highlights of any year for the Society: the President’s Lecture. This year’s speaker is Dr Fiona Marshall, Fellow of the Society and recently appointed head of the new MSD Discovery Centre in London. A few dozen places have been kept back for anyone to book, and at just £5 this is a fantastic opportunity to hear from a leading voice in drug discovery and GPCRs.

Immunopharmacology - 1-2 October 2018

Mercifully for Lindsay, Charlotte and Sophie from the Society’s meetings team there is then some time to regroup before our first ever focused meeting on Immunopharmacology in Edinburgh on 1 and 2 October. This meeting has been designed to help to students and post-docs starting out on a career in academic and industrial immunopharmacology. All members will receive further details from the Society soon, but registration is already open so I would encourage you to book your place and to consider submitting an abstract.

And amidst all this activity, programme, speaker and registration details will soon be released for Pharmacology 2018 (18–20 December). I am delighted to say that it is shaping up to be the biggest and best annual meeting to date, so watch this space!

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About the author

Steve studied Pharmacology in Bristol and then undertook PhD studies in the Department of Pharmacology in Cambridge.  After postdoctoral studies in Cambridge he was appointed to a lectureship in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham in 1981. Steve is currently Professor of Molecular Pharmacology in the School of Life Sciences in Nottingham and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia. His research interests are the molecular pharmacology of G Protein-coupled receptors and the study of single ligand-receptor interactions in membrane microdomains using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.