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Sample research by John’s and Trinity grad students in “lightning” talks

Graduate students at Trinity and St John’s Colleges will be showcasing some of their latest ideas and research in an open session of “lightning” talks, taking place at St John’s on Tuesday, September 26.

The event, which will start in the Old Divinity School at 5.30pm, will see four young researchers from both Colleges give abridged talks outlining their work for a general audience in 10-minute bursts. There will be time for questions and a chance to socialise and meet the speakers, before the event finishes at 7pm.

The session has been organised by the graduate societies of Trinity and St John’s, and is aimed at anyone interested in finding out more about the scholarship of postgraduate students who are just embarking on their research careers.

Edoardo Ponti, a PhD student in computational linguistics who is also academic officer of the Samuel Butler Room society (the graduate society of St John’s) helped to organise the event.

“Our primary goal is to promote the research of graduate students among all the members of the College, so undergraduates and Fellows are also very welcome,” he said. “The content is really diverse, because we want to expose people to knowledge from different fields and hopefully stimulate discussions – and maybe even collaborations – between people with similar interests.”

Two Johnians are among the four presenters. Jessica Tearney Pearce, a PhD student in the Faculty of History, will be speaking about the work of Ramon Martí, a Catalan Dominican who worked with some of the most significant figures in 13th Century Europe as a censor of books, a translator, and a spy. Jessica Van Loben Sels, who is based in the Department of Pathology, will be discussing her team’s research into the development of a pseudotype for the norovirus, or winter vomiting bug, which can be used to understand more about how it infects host cells, and to test patients for protective antibodies against the virus.

The talks will be taking place in the Lightfoot Room, in the Old Divinity School, starting at 5.30pm. Members of Trinity and St John’s are welcome to attend without booking; other members of the University of Cambridge are also very welcome to come along but are asked to let Edoardo Ponti know in advance; email