School hosts NAME 2019 international research meeting

The Nucleic Acids in MEdicine (NAME) international research meeting takes place at the King's Buildings
The Nucleic Acids in MEdicine (NAME) international research meeting takes place at the King's Buildings
In the second week of April, the School's Dr Katherine Dunn chaired the international research meeting Nucleic Acids in MEdicine (NAME) 2019 at the recently refurbished Murchison House at the King's Buildings.

Funded by the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering to promote engagement with European research at the interface between engineering and life sciences, NAME 2019 provided an opportunity for researchers to meet and explore possibilities for collaboration.

Cross-disciplinary connections

Around 40 people participated, from fields as diverse as engineering, clinical medicine, computer science, biology and nanotechnology, among others. Participants were drawn from Scotland, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Italy, and three came from industry. Four Scottish universities were also represented – Edinburgh, Heriot Watt, Strathclyde and Glasgow.

Showcasing Edinburgh

NAME 2019 was opened by Head of School, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, and presentations were given to showcase the University’s world-leading facilities.

This included a range of laboratories and services in the Schools of Engineering and Biology, the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, which is leading the way in automated assembly of large DNA constructs, and the Scottish Microelectronics Centre, which provides extensive cleanroom facilities for fabrication of devices and systems at the microscale or even smaller.

Briefings were also provided on ESRIC, a national imaging facility based in Edinburgh.

Research and funding

Participants explored opportunities for research funding in the UK and Europe, including projects that link academia and industry. There were six research talks including seminars by internationally-renowned experts, which were opened up to the wider University community. 

Conceiving new projects

One day of the meeting was dedicated to brainstorming conversations, generating new ideas for collaborative work. Several potential projects were identified, and the attendees expressed interest in forming an international consortium based on themes of mutual interest. Participants also shared best practice on funding applications and made useful contacts.

Specific action points were identified, and the meeting will be followed up with further discussions as the researchers work towards the submission of joint proposals for funding.

Next steps

The SRPe award also provides sufficient resources for the meeting chair Dr Katherine Dunn to visit some of the potential collaborators abroad, and these visits will take place before the end of July 2019. Dr Dunn will be providing a report to the funders SRPe in August, and will be attending the SRPe Inaugural Annual Conference in November.

In feedback provided after the meeting, one of the participants described NAME 2019 as ‘a very well-organised meeting allowing inclusive networking and establishing potential research contacts between all participants and fostering international collaborations.’

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