VOLUME 4 - ISSUE 1 - MEETINGS REPORT
It was hosted by Trevor Smart, Patrick Vallance and colleagues at University College London.
The Winter meeting of the Society (19-22 December) returned to the Institute of Education, London, for the first time in many years. This proved to be a good venue and was very well attended. Indeed, I am delighted to report that attendance was just short of 1000 (573 members and 369 non-members). It was hosted by Trevor Smart, Patrick Vallance and colleagues at University College London.
The main meeting was preceded on the Monday by the 6 th UK Nitric Oxide Forum organised by Peter Barnes, Adrian Hobbs, Richard Knowles and Alan Wallace. This was the first of what I hope will be a series of joint events with other societies and scientific organisations.
The NO forum attracted a good audience and we were able to programme the NO poster and oral communications of the main BPS meeting to take place on the following day and to provide NO Forum members with access to these sessions. This proved highly successful and we will be organising a similar joint event with the British Association for Pyschopharmacology at the 75 th Anniversary meeting in Oxford in December 2006.
At the main meeting, the gradual move to members and Special Interest Groups putting ideas to the Meetings Committee for symposia at BPS meetings began to pay dividends. With the support of Council and - most importantly - the deep pockets of the Treasurer (!) we have been able to expand the number of symposia at each of our major meetings. At this year’s meeting we had half-day symposia on emerging targets in inflammatory disease, mechanism-based pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modelling, education for new prescribers, pain processes, current and future treatments for COPD, drug treatment of cognitive deficits and, last but not least, imaging methods for studying receptors. In addition, the Department of Pharmacology at UCL was able to celebrate its centenary with a full-day symposium on receptors and ion channels on the opening day of the meeting,
Peter Barnes was kept busy throughout the meeting as an organiser of both the NO Forum and the symposium on emerging targets for inflammatory disease. He then topped off these efforts with a superb Quintiles Prize Lecture on “How corticosteroids switch off inflammation”. In the process he introduced us to a novel mechanism by which theophylline may have therapeutic benefit in asthma.
As if this were not enough, he then opened the COPD symposium with an introduction to the pathological and clinical characteristics of COPD. Many thanks, Peter, for an excellent effort. I should add, however, that your VP (meetings) kept Peter on the straight and narrow at the end of an excellent NO Forum Dinner (many thanks to Adrian Hobbs for a great set menu) by reminding him that some idiot had programmed his symposium to start the next morning at 8-40am! (he had quite reasonably assumed that it was 9.00am).
We were spoilt by the quality of the Prize lecturers. In addition to Peter’s, John Fozard (Paton Memorial), Peter Winstanley (GSK Clinical Pharmacology), Tom Bolton (Vane Medal) and David Nutt (Gary Price Memorial) all gave exceptional lectures on 5-HT 3 receptor antagonists, treating malaria, smooth muscle excitation and the role of neuroimaging in the development of psychotropic drugs. I particularly liked John Fozard’s final slide containing a quote from Bill Paton that “pharmacology ..... was still young and fresh enough for the simple-minded to be able to contribute”.
There is hope for us all!
The official dinner was held on the Dixie Queen, a 3-tier Mississippi Paddle Steamer on the Thames. We had a superb clear evening and the thrill of steaming under a brightly lit Tower Bridge (twice) was something to remember. The views were excellent - although, at one point I was slightly taken aback by the fact that the scenery was going by in opposite directions out of the windows to my left and right! This brought about a heated debate on our table as to why the scenery was not going by in the opposite direction after we had turned around (the explanation for my confusion above)!
The differences in opinion fell neatly between the academics and colleagues from the pharmaceutical industry (who clearly travel too often on trains). However, I am pleased to report that the academics prevailed with a neat visual demonstration (with sound effects) of a knife moving between glasses of wine - although it has to be said that we had to take the perspective of the bean on the end of the knife before the opposition finally caved in! Bill Paton would have been proud of us.
One explanation for the industrial perspective may be the fact that our waiter had given one of our industry colleagues too many wine glasses and then proceeded to keep them all topped up throughout the evening! However, it did allow us to line both sides of the Thames in our audiovisual demonstration.
Many thanks to Trevor, Patrick, UCL colleagues and SIG co-ordinators for all your help with this meeting. Thanks also to Luisa for planning the novel location for the Official Dinner.