Monogram 2018 Report: Patrycja Sokolowska

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Published on: June 5, 2018

By Patrycja Sokolowska, PhD student at Rothamsted Research

Monogram 2018 at John Innes Centre in Norwich was the first, and so far the only conference I have been to since I have started my PhD. Monogram has the established reputation to be the best cereal research meeting in the UK, and it gathers the most experienced wheat scientists and breeders, as well as PhD students and young postdoctoral researchers. My colleagues who went to the Monogram last year said it was great, so I was very excited to go and experience it for myself. I was not disappointed!

The conference venue was located in a lovely surroundings of Norwich and the conference itself was brilliantly organised. Morning and afternoon sessions were grouped into focus blocks with clear themes, and although I found all the sessions interesting, due to the nature of my research, the Cereals Bioinformatics Session and Grain Development and Crop End Use Session were most useful for me. Apart from the variety of talks from invited speakers and PhD students, we also had a poster session, during which I had a chance to present my work. The session meant to last for one afternoon, but it extended into the whole duration of the conference (!), which was great, because we could talk about our work for longer!

But Monogram is not only hard work! Our hosts in Norwich made sure that we have time to relax and have a chat with other attendees over a meal too. On the first day we enjoyed the barbeque and a drink, and the second day ended with a bit more formal dinner in the beautiful Assembly House.

Monogram meeting proved to be a great place to meet peers working in a very similar field. Usually, even though I am lucky enough to be doing my PhD in a crop sciences-based research institute, where quite a lot of people work on wheat, I do not get a chance to exchange my experiences with students, simply because the project we are working on are very different. Monogram gave me an amazing opportunity to meet PhD students who use similar laboratory techniques and work on organisms closely related to wheat. We had a chance to talk about our research and exchange valuable experiences. I hope we will keep in touch and I am looking forward to reading their first publications.

Overall, these were very intense but informative and fruitful three days. I am very happy that I could be a part of this year’s Monogram and I would recommend going to anyone working in the field of cereal research. I would like to thank GARNet for awarding me the travel grant to attend this conference, and making my expenses budget a little less tight! I am looking forward to the Monogram meeting in Nottingham next year! Who knows, maybe I will have a chance to present next year!

Me during my flash talk presentation, trying to lure people into visiting my poster
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