School of Life Sciences

Life Sciences Research Symposium

Each year the School of Life Sciences celebrates the outstanding scientists who helped establish the University of Sussex.

Programme - 7 January 2021

09.00 Professor Sarah Guthrie: Welcome and Introduction 

 The Cornforth Lecture:

Professor Dame Margaret Brimble: 'Peptide-Based Therapeutics: Paving the Way from the Lab to the Clinic'

10.00  Dr Beth Nicholls: 'Picky Pollinators: What drives the pollen foraging choices of bees?'
10.25  Dr Chris Chan: 'A tight coordination between DNA replication and mitosis programs protects genome integrity'
10.50  Break
11.00  Dr Ruth Murrell-Lagnado: 'ATP receptors, Lysosome function and Breast Cancer'
11.25  Dr Tracy Nissan: 'Translational control of gene expression during latent viral infection'
11.50  Professor Ali Nokhodchi: 'Formulation of poorly water-soluble drugs for improved drug delivery'
12.15  Lunch break
12.50  Dr Sylvia Schröder: 'Does the retina do more than vision?'

 Short talks from Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Ana Filipa Moutinho: 'An adaptive walk model of gene evolution'

Dr Adam Baskerville: 'The Quantum Mechanical three-body problem: Where Physics meets Chemistry'

Dr Hadia Almahli: 'Development of new drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease'

14.00   The Latitude Prize Presentation
14.20   Break
14.30   The Kroto Award Talks and presentation by Lady Margaret Kroto

The Maynard Smith Lecture:

Professor Sir Adrian Bird: 'How the genome stabilises cell identity'

15.50   Wrap up and close


The John Maynard Smith Lecture - Professor Sir Adrian Bird CBE FRS FRSE FMedSci 

Prof Adrian BirdProfessor Sir Adrian Bird is at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology and holds the Buchanan Chair of Genetics, University of Edinburgh. Following his PhD in Edinburgh and postdoctoral experience at Yale and Zurich, he joined the MRC Mammalian Genome Unit, moving in 1987 to the Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna. Professor Bird’s research focuses on how the genomic landscape of mammals influences gene expression. His laboratory identified CpG islands as gene markers and discovered proteins that read DNA methylation to influence chromatin structure. Mutations in one such protein, MeCP2, cause the neurological disorder Rett Syndrome, which he showed to be reversible. Professor Bird’s recent work indicates that DNA base composition can be read as a signal to influence cell fate.

The Cornforth Lecture - Distinguished Professor Dame Margaret Brimble DNZM, FRS 

Margaret BrimbleMargaret Brimble is a Distinguished Professor, Director of Medicinal Chemistry and Deputy Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society London, Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, has been inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame and received the Rutherford, Hector and MacDiarmid medals (Royal Society NZ), the Kiwinet Supreme Award and Baldwins Research Entrepreneur 2019 Commercialization Awards and the 2016 Marsden medal (NZ Association of Scientists). She was awarded the 2018 Sosnovsky Award for Cancer Therapy and 2010 Natural Products Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2015 she was awarded an IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering award and was named the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate for Asia-Pacific in Materials Science. She is Past-President of IUPAC Organic and Bimolecular Division, Past-President of International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry, Past-Chair of the Rutherford Foundation and PCB Marsden grant panel. She is an Associate-Editor for Organic Letters (American Chemical Society), and has served as a member of the European Research Council Advanced Grants Panel, the Kiwinet return-on-science life sciences investment panel and the Physical Sciences Panel for NZ Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Assessment. She has published >520 papers, >90 reviews and is an inventor on >50 patents.

Internal Faculty Speakers
The Kroto Award for Public Engagement

The School of Life Sciences is delighted to announce the second Kroto award forpublic engagement at the symposium. The award is named after Sir Harry Kroto FRS, a former University of Sussex Professor who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley. During his lifetime, Harry was a keen advocate for outreach, taking part in numerous public engagements and encouraging researchers in his lab to do the same. 

The 2020 Kroto Award for Public Engagement will be announced by Sir Harry Kroto's wife, Lady Margaret Kroto. Find out more about the 2019 Kroto Award here.

Nominees for the 2020 Kroto Award:

  • Dr Jon Baxter
  • Dr André Maia Chagas
  • Professor Hazel Cox
  • Dr Jo Murray
  • Dr Jenna Macciochi
  • Professor Fiona Mathews
  • Dr Chris Sandom
The Latitude Prize for Sustainable Development

The Latitude Prize for Sustainable Development is an annual prize of £1000, kindly supported by Sussex alumnus Dr Andrew Morgan, for the PhD thesis with the most potential for achieving a better and more sustainable future in line with one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. From ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages, to protecting the health of ecosystems and global natural resources to halt biodiversity loss, research in Life Sciences has an important contribution to make to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The first Latitude Prize for Sustainable Development will be presented at this years' Life Science Research Symposium. 

How to join the symposium

The Life Sciences Research Symposium will be held online via Zoom. All Life Sciences staff and PhD students will recieve an invitation and link to join the meeting via email. 

If you are not a member of staff/PhD student in the School of Life Sciences and are interesting in attending, please email with 'Research Symposium' as the subject line. You will then be emailed the Zoom link. Please note, due to the University closure period over the winter break, this link will be shared from 4 January.

Find out more...

View the brochure below to find out more about the Life Sciences Research Symposium, or download it as a PDF.