Supporting networking and collaborative research among early career scientists and clinicians.

Attending the EASD-SGGD conference to present research entitled ‘A lower birth weight is associated with increased penetrance of maternally-inherited HNF4A-MODY’

Jonathan Locke, University of Exeter Medical School



Attending the 7th meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes – Study Group on the Genetics of Diabetes (EASD-SGGD) in Prague, Czech Republic will enable me to:

  1. Strengthen existing European collaborations which have ultimately resulted in me publishing high-impact papers with European counterparts (Locke JM et al. Diabetes, 2018; Locke JM et al. Diabetologia, 2016). These collaborators have access to cohorts which I have used (and would like to use in the future) to replicate/strengthen my initial results. And being present at this meeting shows I am still active in this research area and producing results which are of interest and worthy of dissemination.  
  2. Foster new collaborations with leading researchers in the area of diabetes epigenetics, an area my current research necessitates I establish new links with. The last sentence of my abstract, which I am submitting for conference presentation, makes it clear that I see this as an area of future research and so this should stimulate discussions with such researchers.
  3. Present work at a leading international conference, thus exposing myself and my research to a multi-disciplined and expert audience for feedback and critical appraisal prior to paper submission.



The main outcomes from attending the meeting are:-

  1. I have identified a network (ENDO-ERN; that I can contact to replicate/strengthen the findings I have and which I presented my poster on. I was introduced to Stepanka Pruhova by a colleague of mine and she gave me her email address and said she would be very happy to look to see how many individuals with HNF4A-MODY she has birth weight and gestational age data on.
  2. I also met for the first time a couple of scientists from Norway who investigate the functional effects of mutations in MODY genes and we discussed methods and hypotheses to test in the future. Indeed this has spurred me on to do some further work looking at genotype-phenotype relationships in HNF1B-MODY as the Norwegian group are set up to test experimentally some of the mechanisms that some of my previous genotype-phenotype analyses have suggested exist.
  3. Following presentation of my poster I received a number of questions regarding BMI of the cohort. This is not something I had investigated and so this would seem to point to some further analyses that I need to do.

On the downside giving a poster at this version of EASD-SGGD did not give me the same level of exposure to the entire conference that it has done previously. This is because there were issues with background noise and space during my poster presentation slot and poster layout. Therefore I don’t think I had as many profitable discussions as I have done at previous incarnations of this conference. In future if I have to give a poster at an international conference I will make sure I print off some copies of my poster, including my email address and an invitation to email, and place this with my poster.


Grant awarded: £660.00

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