Introducing the Early Career Pharmacologists supporting WCP2023


In July, the Society will host the 19th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (WCP2023). The event, which will take place 2-7 July in Glasgow, Scotland, will deliver an exciting programme that celebrates pharmacology at all levels and across all disciplines. 

As part of this meeting, a team of early career pharmacologists from the Society and the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR) have been working together to develop a series of activities to enhance the scientific programme. These activities will provide important networking, mentorship and educational opportunities at the meeting, and will help to bring the global early career researcher community together to talk about their work. 

We interviewed some members of this team to learn more about what they have been up to, and what they’re most looking forward to at WCP2023. 


Left to right- Dr Marc Labriffe , Dr Emily Hobson, Alina Zorn, Dr Brad Hoare, Dr Vanessa Minervini, Dr Makhotso Lekhooa, Maria-Cristina Ardelean. 

What are you involved with during WCP2023? 

Dr Vanessa Minervini (Assistance Professor at Creighton University & Chair of the IUPHAR Early Career Research Sub-Committee, USA): I will be presenting a poster on new data from my lab about opioid/ketamine mixtures for treating pain and I will be chairing the Careers Bootcamp session on starting a new lab.   

Dr Brad Hoare (Postdoctoral Researcher at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia): I’ll be chairing one of the Bootcamp sessions, and I’ve also submitted a late-breaking abstract to present some recent work that I’m excited to share. 

Dr Makhotso Lekhooa (Senior Researcher and Lecturer pre-clinical drug development – North West University & member of the IUPHAR Early Career Research Sub-Committee, South Africa): I will be an ECR speaker during the session “The interdependence of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology from bench side to bedside and back”. I will also be co-chairing the bootcamps session “Changing Research Practise: How can I make my research more reproducible?”. 

Dr Emily Hobson (Lecturer in Cell Biology at the University of East Anglia & Chair of the BPS Early Career Pharmacologists Advisory Group, UK): I am excited to be chairing an early careers bootcamp session at WCP2023 based around career journeys on Wednesday 5th July in the Innovations Theatre. These bootcamps are packed with fantastic information for early career members and will also give you a chance to network. I have also submitted to present at the Emerging Innovations in Pharmacological Education session, where I will be showcasing a public engagement resource, funded by a BPS Engagement Grant, which is designed to teach the public about how cancer medicines are made, entitled: "Cancer medicines: from the laboratory to the patient". 

Alina Zorn (Pharmacology PhD student at the University of Glasgow & BPS Early Career Trustee, UK): I will be co-chairing the “Changing Research Practice” bootcamp session on Monday morning and am hoping to present a poster at the conference.  

Dr Marc Labriffe (Pharmacology PhD student at the University of Limoges & member of the IUPHAR Early Career Research Sub-Committee, France): My abstract about my research on mycophenolic acid, a widely used immunosuppressive drug, has been accepted. So, I am very happy to be able to share my results, with a poster or oral communication. As a member of the Early Career Researchers subcommittee of IUPHAR, it is also a great opportunity for me to meet the other members of this group in real life and talk about our current projects. 

Maria-Cristina Ardelean (Pharmacology PhD student at University College London, UK): I look forward to attending as many lectures as possible and asking questions from the sessions as part of learning as much as I can. Additionally, I am volunteering to help organise the “Coffee with an expert” networking event for early career researchers. I hope this event will be valuable for the participants and help them build connections and gain insights into the career path in which they are interested. 

What are you most looking forward to during WCP2023? 

Emily: WCP2023 will be my first time attending a world congress, hence I am really excited to network with other researchers from across the world and get to see some of the fantastic science that I may not usually come across. 

Marc: I am looking forward to seeing new methods for research from all over the world, especially in statistics and Machine Learning. I want to build my knowledge further in this field; I am very curious to learn more. As a young teacher in pharmacology, I will be particularly attentive about the innovative ways of teaching, to improve my classes with medical students in France. I have never been to Glasgow, so this congress gives me the chance to discover a new place in Europe and practice my English speaking skills. 

Makhotso: I am looking forward to meeting ECRs and organising committee members in person that I have been working with in the build-up to congress. Secondly, to network with peers and senior researchers and discover Scotland as it will be my first time in the UK. 

Brad: I’d like to say the science, but I’m most excited for the Cèilidh - looking forward to embarrassing myself on the dancefloor in the most Scottish way possible. I’m also looking forward to catching up with all the UK-based researchers I haven’t seen since my last in-person BPS conference (way back in December 2019!) 

What do you think of the Congress programme? 

Vanessa: I’m excited about the new events that are included for early career researchers, such as bootcamp sessions, coffee with an expert, and the career short talks.   

Maria-Cristina: I am impressed with the diversity of the scientific programme and the range of topics covered. I am particularly interested in attending the drug discovery and development sessions as those align the most with my research interests. 

Alina: I am particularly looking forward to the talks by some of the keynote speakers on tackling antimicrobial resistance and allosteric drug discovery, as well as the symposia related to my PhD research on drug discovery, cancer, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Makhotso: The programme is packed with exciting talks, cutting-edge research, and innovative pharmacology research. I am also excited about the wide range of ECR activities organised by fellow IUPHAR and BPS early career researchers. 

What do you hope will be a lasting outcome for you after WCP2023? 

Brad: Good research requires staying up-to-date with current trends and hot topics, so I’m hoping that WCP2023 will give me some ideas to develop my next research project. 

Vanessa: I hope the meeting will inspire ideas for new experiments and perhaps be the start of some fruitful collaborations. 

Marc: After the congress, I hope to keep in touch with new scientists. But I am also looking forward to meeting people I already work with, but have never met face to face. 

What top tip would you give other early career researchers attending WCP2023? 

Alina: Try to network and speak to other researchers as much as you can even though it may seem intimidating at first. Using the time in between sessions to look at posters is an easy way to start talking to people, as well as making full use of the ECR opportunities organised for the conference, such as signing up for “Coffee with an Expert” and visiting the Innovation Theatre. 

Emily: Don't be afraid to approach new people! Science is all about communicating and sharing ideas, and although it may be nerve-wracking to talk to new people, it will really help with building your network. 

Maria-Cristina: My top tip for other early career researchers attending the congress is to make the most of every opportunity to meet new people and learn about their work. Ask questions and engage with other researchers during the poster sessions and networking events, especially the “Coffee with an expert” sessions. But mainly don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the Scottish culture! 

Join us at the World Congress of Clinical and Basic Pharmacology 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland this July: explore the vibrant programme, and book your place today.


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
 Security code

If you are a British Pharmacological Society member, please sign in to post comments.

Back to Homepage

Published: 04 May 2023

About the author

Lee Page

Lee Page is Head of Education and Engagement at the British Pharmacological Society. Lee was formerly a Medicinal Chemist with 12 years’ experience working in the pharmaceutical industry with GlaxoSmithKline and Astex Pharmaceuticals. One of Lee's core projects at the Society is to establish as series of free eLearning resources to support undergraduate pharmacology education on good experimental design.


Related Pages