Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


Report: Transformative Experience at the Global Young Scientist Summit (GYSS) in Singapore

31 January 2020

Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering postdoctoral research fellow Anita Karsa reports her experience attending and presenting at the Global Young Scientist Summit.

Anita Karsa presents her poster at GYSS 2020

The Global Young Scientist Summit (or GYSS) is an event organised by the National Research Foundation Singapore every year gathering young researchers (PhD students and postdocs) worldwide. It is a multi-disciplinary summit covering topics from mathematics to medicine and engineering. The speakers are distinguished scientists and technology leaders, recipients of the Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, Millennium Technology Prize, and Turing Award. The summit aims to inspire, engage, and connect young researchers to pursue their scientific dreams.

GYSS 2020 was held at the Matrix Biopolis, Singapore, an international research and development centre for biomedical sciences, between 14 and 17 January. UCL nominated six PhD students and postdocs for attendance (two from the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering) all of whom received invitations to participate. There were more than 300 attendees and 16 speakers this year and even the Princess of Thailand attended some of the talks at the beginning.

I found most of the speakers’ talks very engaging even though they covered a wide range of scientific topics from molecular electronics and graphene-based technology to prime numbers and machine learning. Dr Leslie Lamport’s talk had a huge impact on how I think about coding programs.

Some speakers also mixed in some interesting stories about their careers. I particularly liked Professor Michael Grätzel’s anecdote that the first time he invented a new type of solar cell, he carried his experimental set-up with him to demonstrate his claims at his talks as many scientists would not believe him. Most of the speakers’ agreed that the best way to pursue a career in science was to find a project that interests us.

GYSS panel discussion
We got to ask the speakers’ opinions on pressing scientific issues at the two panel discussions. The panellists at the “Science and Society” session concluded that curiosity-driven research is bound to be more efficient in producing ground-breaking discoveries than application-driven research. The panellists at the “Future of Medicine” session discussed the antibiotics crisis and the issues with personalised medicine.

Some of the attendees, including me, also got to present their exciting research at the poster session which showcased a wide variety of research topics. To me, it was a much more intense experience than the poster sessions I attended at other, more specialised conferences. Many people were interested in my work on “Phase-based Magnetic Resonance Imaging” and, in exchange, I received introductions into various research areas like traffic simulations and insurance calculations for grasslands. 

Besides the poster session, there were plenty of opportunities for networking during coffee and lunch breaks, the social programmes, and the closing beach party. I have made countless new connections, some of which might turn into future collaborations. We were also given a fantastic tour at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, including the Fabrication Lab where students and researchers can produce and assemble about anything they can imagine.

#GYSS2020 was a truly transformative experience for me and I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr Karin Shmueli, and the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering for nominating me as an attendee.