First annual COST1307/CaPF joint meeting , Calvi, Corsica, France
27 – 29 October 2014
Laboratory for Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
This year, the first annual COST1307/CaPF joint meeting was held in Calvi, Corsica (France) and counted more than 100 participants. This COST consortium specifically focuses on targeted therapy towards diseases caused by endoparasites, such as helminths, Plasmodium, Trypanosomes and Leishmania. This first meeting was completely dedicated to medicinal chemistry and the use of natural products in treatment of these often neglected diseases. Since most drug candidates against protozoa and helminths have low specificity and show poor in vivo bioavailability, the primary aim was to unite scientists with different backgrounds and to stimulate collaborations in antiparasitic drug discovery and of course to exchange knowledge and expertise on various actual topics relating drug therapy. One session specifically focused on drug resistance in Leishmania, which is the main topic of my PhD.
During this conference, most oral presentations were held by internationally recognized expert researchers in the field. I was delighted to be given the opportunity for an oral presentation as well. Having my talk immediately after Marc Ouelette, who is one of the most prominent and respected researchers on Leishmania resistance, represented a ‘’healthy’’ moment of stress! The subject of my presentation was “Relevance of intracellular parasite fitness to assess in vitro drug resistance in Leishmania”. Upon my presentation, I received a lot of positive feedback from people who experience some of the same problems and difficulties when working with Leishmania. It was very interesting to learn what their thoughts were about some of my research questions and to discuss additional options. I was able to network and establish several new collaborations for our LMPH research group. In addition, Leishmania strains were exchanged between labs and the possibility to make short scientific visits to other research labs with which we can cooperate were agreed during the many pleasant (but short) lunches and coffee breaks.
I warmly recommend this meeting to other PhD students (both junior and senior) and to senior researchers. I am confident that the COST1307/CaPF community will trigger your interest as well!