10 ways we made the most of a conference in China

Posted in: Events, Seminars & Conferences

The following blog is written by Maria Weber and Carlos Lopez.

Maria is a final year PhD student in Professor Tony James' group working on diagnostic tools for early cancer detection. Carlos is also a final year PhD student working with Dr Simon Lewis on molecular sensors for detection of toxins in drinking water.


From 3 - 6 June 2018, we attended the Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates (MSMLG) 2018 conference in Dalian, China. Only one hour away by plane from Beijing, Dalian is a culturally diverse city by the Yellow Sea. Getting to Dalian and experiencing it and China to the fullest was quite an adventure for us

1. From MSMLG 2016 as a student helpers ...

During our MRes year (already two years ago!) we were lucky to attend MSMLG 2016 in Bath. Hearing that MSMLG 2018 would take place in Dalian, China, we promised ourselves to attend it.

2. … to presenters at MSMLG 2018.

We were both fortunate enough to be accepted for a talk at MSMLG 2018. Maria's talk was within the Molecular therapy session and Carlos's talk in the Sensors/Logic Gates session.

3. A variety of sessions and topics ...

The conference was split into 3 different parallel sessions: Molecular Therapy, Fluorescence Imaging and Sensors/Logic Gates. We particularly enjoyed talks from Mustafa Emrullahoglu (Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey) on reaction based probes for gold ions as well as David Margulies (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) on combinatorial fluorescent molecular sensors.

4. … in a wonderful venue with the sensor community.

With over 350 attendees, the conference took place in the Dalian International Finance Center. With an ever growing sensor community, we were particularly pleased that all poster prizes were won by female researchers, since only a limited number of female academics presented at MSMLG.

5. Meeting an old friend …

In April 2017, as part of the 'Sensors: Diagnostics for Sustainable Healthcare' CSCT symposium we organised, AP da Silva was our plenary speaker. As one of the leaders in the field of molecular logic gates, it was great to catch up with him.

6. … and making lots of new ones. Networking can be exhausting.

We took the opportunity to chat to a variety of researchers from all over the world including UK, USA, Turkey, Israel, Japan, China, Malta, Ireland, Australia, Singapore and many more. It was also nice to meet some previous PhD students of the James group.

7. ... but also lots of fun.

We were invited for dinner on the last day of the conference. It was great to chat in an informal way to the academics and sample some of the local cuisine.

8. Exploring Dalian on one of the days …

Dalian really surprised us as city. Located by the sea, it has a highly strategic position and acts as a gateway to China, Japan, and Korea. Historically, Dalian also used to belong to Russia and Japan with small communities still present today.

9. … and taking a detour to Beijing and Hong Kong.

Having travelled all the way to Dalian, we took a few days off to explore Beijing and Hong Kong. We definitely recommend being open about the food and patient with communication, especially in mainland China where English was very limited. This allowed us to experience China to the fullest in such a short time.

10. Finally, these are our two favourite Chinese words we learned along the way.

We would like to thank the Royal Society of Chemistry and the CSCT for the funding provided to attend MSMLG 2018.

Posted in: Events, Seminars & Conferences

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