On 14th November 2009, Keble College, Oxford hosted the first Undergraduate Physiological Sciences Conference (UPSC) - a one day event organised by and designed especially for undergraduate physiologists generously supported by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology.
The first UPSC welcomed over 130 undergraduates from 34 different universities across the UK and Ireland. Welcoming talks by Ania Szmuksta, lead organiser, and Michael Collis, Chief Executive of The Physiological Society, were followed by rousing and enlightening keynote lectures by Denis Noble CBE FRS and Julian Paton. The students also attended careers sessions for which Mary J. Morrell, in collaboration with the Oxford Careers Service, presented an excellent CV-workshop and Clare McVicker of the Wellcome Trust, Daniel Rosen and Daniel Kumpik, graduate Oxford scientists, drew attention to the many options that await those considering doctoral research. The conference also attracted several senior scientists from the Oxford academic scene including members of neuroendocrine groups, who joined the undergraduates for the poster session and for the careers and networking evening.
One of the highlights of the day was the student poster session for which over 50 entries were received. The panel of judges commented on the high standard of the posters, and considered most to be comparable to those presented at professional specialist meetings. The first poster prize was awarded to Nishanthan Manickavasagar from King's College London for 'Subcellular localisation of the NADPH oxidase isoform Nox4 in cells of the cardiovascular system.' The abstracts submitted by the undergraduates were also used to select one student to present a short prize talk. This was awarded to Anna Graca from the University of Aberdeen, who spoke on 'PLD-coupled mGluRs modulation of synaptic-like vesicle recycling and afferent discharge frequency in mouse mechanosensory terminals.' The evening was rounded off by a subsidised dinner at the Freud's restaurant. The organising committee would like to thank the British Society for Neuroendocrinology for their generous financial support.