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The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology

The Astbury Society

The Astbury Society Committee Dr Arwen Pearson

One of the key ways in which the Astbury centre is encouraging cross-departmental collaberations in through Postdoc/Postgrad-arranged social events. These social events are arranged by the Astbury Society, currently comprising of (L to R) Dr Katy Routledge, Tom Knapman, Nathalie Valette, Dr Stuart Knowling, Dr Louise Horsfall, Nicole Timms, Paul Acklam (not pictured) and the society's academic link Dr Arwen Pearson (far right).

The society is always on the look out for new members, if you think you might be interested in helping out please contact Nicole ( or Stu (

Calender of forthcoming events

Wine and Cheese evening 2009
This years wine and cheese tasting evening will follow a similar format to last years successful event, the provisional date for this is Thursday 2nd of April.

Astbury @ 10, Summer 2009
This year the Astbury Centre celebrates its 10th anniversary with an extended Annual lecture program followed by a BBQ in the sunshine!

Past events

A brief round up of 2008’s events…

In early 2008 the Astbury Society hosted a fantastic wine and cheese evening in the Astbury centre, an event which has proved very popular over the last two years and looks set to become an annual event in the Astbury Centres social calendar. A few changes this year means that fingers crossed there’ll be an opportunity for those who want to try some more exotic wines to test one or two speciality bottles. 2008 also saw the Astbury Society quiz night, won by the Berry lab team ‘DENSA’, the ever popular annual sports day and lecture (full write up and pictures of this event are below) as well as a festively themed Christmas Games evening.

Quiz night 1 Quiz night 2 Quiz night 3
Quiz night Quiz night Quiz night
Quiz night 4 4-in-a-row game operation game
Quiz night Games evening - 4-in-a-row Games evening - operation

3rd annual lecture and sports day

On a sunny Thursday in July the 3rd annual Astbury Sports Day and Barbecue was held. Preceding the event was an excellent seminar by Professor Ulrich Hartl from the Max Planck Institute who talked about chaperone assisted protein folding. As the audience sat in the lecture theatre listening to the talk, loud rumbles could be heard from outside and the annual thunderstorm that ruins the outside aspect of sports day appeared like clockwork! Luckily the SES teaching labs had been booked and allowed the sports day events to proceed as planned. First up was the crazy obstacle course designed by Dr Horsfall who decided that a blindfolded team member should be lead by a sighted member through a variety of obstacles including finding foam balls on the floor and in a ball pool (IMG36 and 39) and hulla-hooping. Other events included the ever popular space hopper relay race (IMG78) and the hanging power sockets made for an interesting skipping race! The team from mass spectrometry won through on many events but had a scary ability in the three legged race, rumour has it that the whole lab practices throughout the year just to win (IMG 56). This ability meant team "massspectuculars" won through on the day and celebrated at the barbecue by promptly tipping beer into the winner’s trophy and breaking it! (IMG 141) (rumour has it that it has survived the rebuild and will be present for next year). The inside portion of the sports day was concluded in the time honoured fashion of an egg and spoon race between the plenary speaker and the host (IMG 98).

After the sports day, the barbecue was held outside in the cracking sunshine and a large gathering of people attended to imbibe some quality burgers, sausages and beer (IMG 143). Professor Hartl presented the prizes for best team name, most humourous moment and a special prize of most sporting PI that went to Michael Webb for his inspirational effort in the sack race. All together, a much enjoyed event and a great opportunity for people to mix and socialize outside of the lab.

12th July 2007
The 2nd Annual Sports Day and Barbeque

egg and spoon race

As usual the Annual Sports Day and Barbeque followed the Astbury Annual Lecture, given this year by Nobel Laureate Dr Tim Hunt. After his seminar to a packed audience the serious business of the annual Astbury Sports Day began. Defending champions "team leftovers" from the Radford group competed against 12 other teams from across the Astbury centre. Due to bad weather in the afternoon the sporting events were held indoors and the teams soon got stuck into the action of the egg and spoon race.

egg and spoon race

Although slightly cheating with a massive serving spoon and tennis ball the event proved tricky for the final sprint to the line. Nobel laureate Tim Hunt played a great part in the afternoon and had a head to head race with Kenny McDowell. Using special eggs that vibrated, the event was closely contested until the final 10 metres where Tim pulled away to claim the much sought after prize of a mixed bag of Haribo sweets. We were later informed that these were very much enjoyed on the train back home!

egg and spoon race egg and spoon race

Next up was the ever exciting sack race, made all the more exciting by the combination of plastic bags on a polished floor (left). Some teams opted for the sprint in the bag approach whilst others went for the easier hopping, although this did sometimes lead to the bag giving way under the extreme forces (right).

The sack race was quickly followed by the sprint and throw event, where the simple act of throwing a ball into a sharps bin is made all the more difficult by the addition of a crowd watching and people to compete against (left below). By this stage of the contest, the ringers were pulling away with 3 wins out of a possible 4. The medley proved to be exciting, with people running backwards and many being part of a wheelbarrow race for the first time since primary school the tactic of choice was just to push your barrow like a vacuum cleaner (right below).

throwing event wheelbarrow race

The final race proved to be a nail-biter as 3 teams could take the title from team leftovers. Instant grins appeared as the space hoppers were revealed and teams lined up for the final bounce down to the end of the hall and back (left below). In the end team ringers won and were presented with the trophy by Peter Stockley at the barbecue and beer afterwards (centre below). This gave a chance for the teams to wind down and enjoy a good amount of social time with people from other labs and for the teams to have their picture taken with their hero (right below).

throwing event wheelbarrow race throwing event

18th October 2007
Astbury Quiz night. 5pm after the Astbury lecture. Venue Level 11 Astbury. Food and drinks provided

Last week before Xmas 2007
Nintendo wii tournament or sports tournament with drinks and nibbles run as cup and plate system

Christmas party 2006. Congratulations to the winners of the Christmas Party Fancy Dress Competition!!

Thurs Oct 12th 5pm Astbury Quiz night (to welcome new Astbury postgrads)

Welcome evening

A very successful quiz night with free alcohol, soft drinks and pizza was held to welcome the new PhD students and postdocs to the Astbury centre. One of the most popular questions was the 'spot-the-PI' round where teams had to identify PIs from their baby photos.

Sack race

Sports Day and Barbecue - July 6th 2006

We had perfect weather for the 1st ever Astbury sports day. 13 teams entered in total, including two teams of PIs, and several more people came along to watch and enjoy the food. Sports included sack races, a 3-legged race, an egg and spoon race and a blind-folded obstacle course.

Click here for a slide show of photos from the event

Some of the teams taking part
sports day teams sports day teams sports day teams
sports day teams sports day teams sports day teams
sports day teams sports day teams
Teams taking part included The PI pirates, Stupid Fat Hobbits, Super-team Mega-Stockly yea yeah yeah woo!, STMSYYYW again and Leftovers
to the winning team Leftovers, who comprised of Kunal Mukhopadhyay, Katy Routledge, Walraj Gosal, David Sadler, Rebecca Rose and Johnny Hodkinson from the Sheena Radford group. The team will be open for challenge in Summer 2007, so get training!
arrow winning team

Wine evening

Cheese and Wine night - May 18th 2006

Wine tasting (including champers), more wine and plenty of lovely cheese. Oddbins kindly agreed to send a member of staff to the university to improve our wine knowledge and provide us with the high quality wines. The event was held in the Chemistry Library and a great time was had by all.

wine tasting wine tasting wine tasting