This week at the Progress Educational Trust (10 December 2013)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is still getting its breath back, after its 2013 Annual Conference 'Double Take: Twins in Genetics and Fertility Treatment' took place at University College London's Institute of Child Health. The event was a great success, with 16 eminent speakers (several of whom are pictured below) discussing twins, multiple pregnancies and multiple births in the context of genetics, fertility treatment and early development. As well as engaging in lively debate with one another, the speakers were also put through their paces by a 130-strong audience.
PET isn't just blowing its own trumpet - here's a small selection of the comments received from attendees so far:
Adding to the excitement was the fact that the conference was in the media spotlight, with two speakers in particular - Professor Robert Plomin and Mohamed Taranissi, both pictured right - having featured prominently in the news in previous weeks. Indeed, Professor Plomin arrived at the conference straight from the Houses of Parliament, where he had just been giving evidence based on twin studies to the Education Select Committee's Inquiry into Underperformance in Education of White Working Class Children (a film of those proceedings can be watched online here).
Other conference speakers also hit the headlines, with Professor Marcus Pembrey (PET's Chair of Trustees, pictured left) discussing the latest research into transgenerational responses on the Today Programme and BBC News, in the Daily Mail, Independent, Telegraph and Times newspapers, and in many other national and international media outlets. Meanwhile, Professor Sir John Burn responded in the Telegraph to a new Government proposal to sequence every child's DNA at birth, and James Lawford Davies could be found on BBC News discussing a woman's attempt to prevent her deceased husband's frozen sperm from being destroyed.
The 'Double Take' conference was attended by journalists from publications including the Independent newspaper, New Scientist magazine and the British Medical Journal, and PET will be keeping an eye out for related coverage - watch this space. PET will also be providing coverage of its own, in the form of detailed synopses of all the conference sessions in BioNews - PET's weekly digest of news and comment on genetics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research, to which you can subscribe for free here.
A small charity like PET would never be able to organise such an ambitious conference without the help and support of many people and organisations. PET is therefore grateful to everyone who gave up their time to speak at and chair sessions at the conference, and to sponsors Merck Serono, the London Women's Clinic, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and the Medical Research Council. PET is also grateful to the stalwart volunteers pictured above, who gave up their time to ensure that proceedings ran smoothly - Kerry Dyus, Dr Cathy Herbrand, Daniel Malynn, María Victoria Rivas Llanos and Ruth Saunders.
The conference may be over, but the charity still needs your support in order to raise vital funds. PET is currently selling raffle tickets as part of the Great Big Small Charity Draw, which closes in just a few days' time on Monday 16 December. Top prizes, which are detailed here (.pdf), include a luxury holiday abroad and a weekend in the Lake District. Buy your raffle tickets now by clicking here - you've got to be in it to win it!