September is always an exciting month. Birthdays for me and my wife, start of the new school year for my children, and this time around, the end of my time at Cardiff University. This month has seen the personal and professional highs and lows of coming to the end of an academic research contract, and new new beginnings at the University of Bristol.

I spent the first week of September in Glasgow for the Eurobiofilms 2019 conference. I was very fortunate in receiving a grant from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) which covered my registration costs to attend the conference. This was a fantastic conference, and I presented an overview of all of my academic research. The included data from my PhD and subsequent postdoc positions both at the Cardiff University schools of Dentistry and Biosciences.

It was great to speak to people about my work for one final time before venturing into a new academic research territory.

The conference venue was situated in the centre of Glasgow (literally a two-minute walk from my hotel which was great!) in the Technology Innovation Centre. Hosted by many staff from University of Glasgow led by Prof Gordon Ramage, and with contributions from many others further afield including Dr Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol) and Prof Jeremy Webb (Southampton), it was also nice to catch up with these familiar faces and the members of their respective research groups.

The welcome drinks receptions was a particularly nice occasion, hosted in the stunning City Chambers, with all its marble and beautiful architecture. There was a welcome speech from the Mayor and a (very short) blast of a song from a guy on the bagpipes. Lovely.

Always a pleasure to catch up with these wonderful guys (Nihal, Angela, and Gordon)

The conference itself was brilliant. Lots of excellent research and a lot of it medically relevant too, in amongst the more mechanistic or environmental research that is also very important. All in all, a very worthwhile trip where I was able to promote myself, my research, and particularly emphasise the contributions from my summer students Megan Hughes and Tom Cummins (CUROP and Microbiology Society funded, respectively).

That all came to an end however, with new beginnings the following week. I am honoured to be joining such a fantastic research group, led by an even more fantastic academic in Ruth Massey, who was recently awarded her professorship (and very well deserved!). The group are really lovely. Even prior to my arrival, they were being so welcoming as to arrange a lunchtime outing for my first day, to help me become familiar with the members of the group. Not only that, they’re really supportive in the day to day things like making sure I know where things are, and who does what, and even though I’m in my first week, I genuinely feel like I am a member of this group. I am very fortunate for sure. I’ve begun to meet others outside of the group too, people like John (a technician who will be doing my induction next week), who is a super guy, very funny and very knowledgeable.

The travel isn’t great, but I will persevere, and it is what it is. I will take this opportunity to progress as best I can professionally, and if that means I need to travel for a certain period each day, then so be it. I am looking forward to getting stuck into things in the lab, and trying to be productive!