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Issue 150 Winter 2023

Endocrinologist > Winter 2023 > Society News


| Society News

Craig Doig (Nottingham) and Kim Jonas (London) were members of the Programme Committee for this year’s SfE BES conference. Here, they share their perspectives on the process of making sure that everyone is catered for at the Society’s leading annual endocrine event.

Crafting a good scientific programme for the SfE BES conference is no easy feat. There’s considerable pressure to meet the interests of the Society’s broad membership base. Despite this challenge, every year the Programme Committee fashions a tightly packed programme of outstanding content.

There’s a finite amount of material that you can squeeze into three days. However, we manage: that’s mostly through hard thinking, combined with exceptionally hard work. The Programme Committee’s members who cover the breadth of endocrine specialties. We break into teams and give consideration to formulating each individual session in our specialist areas, as well as the Meet the Expert, How do I? and physiology workshops. 

After we have thrashed out these sessions, we come together and discuss each symposium, including the rationale and the balance of speakers, selecting session Chairs and ensuring an overall balance with the other programme suggestions. 

It takes an intense two days to put the programme together! After that, our work doesn’t stop. We are all assigned sessions that we finesse. And, should speakers decline, we have to work to identify alternatives whilst still balancing the session. This year, we had a few speakers who were unable to join in person, and so we worked with Bioscientifica to ensure that they could either present remotely in real time, or pre-record their talk and join for live questions. Being a Programme Committee member is hard work but rewarding, especially when you see the fruits of your labour, and the enjoyment of attendees. 


The Programme Committee Chair and two Programme Co-ordinators (one for basic science and one clinical) also put together the oral communications and oral poster presentations. This year Kim was the Basic Science Co-ordinator. About 500 abstracts were submitted across the standard and late breaking deadlines, so it was quite a task to go through the ranked abstracts and select the oral and oral poster presentations. We had a particularly good selection of neuroendocrinology and reproductive endocrinology abstracts, so we separated these two themes, though they have historically been combined in a single session.

Although the abstracts are marked and ranked by a panel, we still have the task of balancing the sessions and also have to take into account whether presenters have selected ‘poster only’ or ‘either oral communication or poster’ as a way of communicating their work. There were a few occasions where the abstracts had scored well but ‘poster presentation’ had been selected, so we would encourage you to be bold and select to present in either format. You never know − it could be you on the receiving end of an award!

Kim with Sumetha Sureshkumar and Ruijuan Xu at the conference dinner.

Kim with Sumetha Sureshkumar and Ruijuan Xu at the conference dinner.


I agree with Craig that there were many (many!) excellent talks. One highlight was the workshop on what we should consider when selecting our experimental models and designing experiments. The session on reproductive ageing was truly excellent, with very considered presentations on basic, clinical, population-based and translational science, highlighting remarkable holes in our knowledge of this area. I was also impressed by the standard of presentations − oral, oral posters and posters − by our early career presenters. Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the social and networking side of the conference. It was great to see so many colleagues and friends, and catch up about science and life, as well as dancing at the notoriously fun SfE BES conference dinner!


This year’s SfE BES conference saw the great and the good of UK and Irish endocrinology meet in Glasgow. As a Programme Committee member, it was gratifying to see our year-long plans turned into reality. Among the many excellent talks, a standout moment for me was John Speakman’s Dale Medal Lecture, which offered a meticulous evaluation of weight gain in relation to amino acid dietary content. Grounded in solid basic science, the lecture presented a compelling hypothesis accompanied by a narrative that left the audience on the edge of their seats. In contrast to Netflix, where the next episode can be readily accessed, the science dictates that we must patiently await the next set of experimental results…


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