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BSI London Immunology Group Seminar Series: connecting early career researchers

The BSI London Immunology Group Seminar Series logo

The BSI London Immunology Group (BSI LIG) is delighted to be continuing its successful journal-club-style online seminar series for a third season. Led by a team of PhD students and postdocs, the series aims to build a community of early career researchers (ECRs) working at London institutions with a focus on sharing world class research and personal experiences of working in research.

Benefitting from community

The latest iteration of AdvanceHE’s Postgraduate Research Experience Study discovered an alarming 43% of postgraduate researchers do not feel part of a community, with 38% feeling no sense of belonging. 41% of respondents felt that there were insufficient opportunities to interact with other postgraduates, sharply underlining the importance of reinvigorating postgraduate research communities. 

Over the last two seasons of the seminar series, we have hosted 13 ECR speakers from London institutions including University College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, The Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London. Within these sessions we have discussed a variety of immunological themes including cancer immunotherapy, autoimmunity, vaccination and allergic inflammation. 

Insights from experience

At the end of each session, we invite our speakers to discuss any challenges they faced and unique insights gained through their academic and professional career thus far. Our speakers have shared fascinating perspectives on a wide range of topics, including the transition from PhD to postdoc, fellowship applications and relocation abroad.

Kevin Ng is a Postdoctoral researcher and Schmidt Scientific Fellow working in Gabriel Victora’s lab at the Rockefeller University. Kevin shared a superb insight into his previous work at the Crick and his paper discovering that antibodies against endogenous retroviruses promote lung cancer immunotherapy, talking us through the process, from the work's conception over drinks with colleagues to its publication in Nature. Kevin also shared his experience applying for fellowships and moving to New York to continue his exciting research into antibody responses.

Patricia Ogger is a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry (MPIB) and gave a superb talk on how type I interferon receptor signalling deficiency results in dysregulated innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in mice; work completed as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London. Following her talk, Patricia gave us an insightful walkthrough of her experiences publishing her work, applying for fellowships and moving to the MPIB in Munich.

Far-reaching engagement

While this series places a spotlight on the work and experiences of ECRs in London, our community stretches far beyond the M25! Researchers from across the UK and as far afield as Poland, Italy and Spain have tuned in to listen and engage with our speakers.

Beyond the current journal-club-style format of our seminars, we are eager to trial one-off seminars or masterclasses. These sessions may involve an ECR overviewing a technology or method that they have mastered through their research, or a panel of ECRs could be invited to discuss career-related topics such as building presentation skills, coping with stress and effective time management.

We are excited to be putting together our third series with an even greater emphasis on experiences as researchers. This series is run by ECRs for ECRs and aims to foster a supportive community that members can engage with and feel a part of. We are proud to be led by the ECR community and welcome any feedback and suggestions to help us better cater this series to the needs of ECRs. We are also always looking for speakers for future series. If you or someone you know is an ECR and has recently published work they completed at a London institution, please get in contact with the organising committee at


BSI London Immunology Group ECR Representatives
William Traves (Imperial College London), Dr Kyle Mincham (Imperial College London), Stephanie Kucykowicz (University College London), Dr George Finney (University College London), Johannes Schroth (Queen Mary University of London) and Katie Flaherty (King’s College London)

Get involved!

The BSI LIG Seminar Series takes place fortnightly on Thursdays via Zoom.