Joint COST Action CM1307 2nd conference/WG2 and WG3 Meetings, Belgrade, Serbia, 26 – 28 October 2015
Laboratory for Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
COST actions are organized specifically to improve communication, networking and coordination between different laboratories all over the world. The second joint meeting of COST Action CM1307 was organized in Belgrade in Serbia and counted about 70 participants. LMPH was well represented as two of my colleagues were also selected for an oral presentation. This COST meeting specifically focused on targeted therapy towards diseases caused by endoparasites, such as helminths, Plasmodium, Trypanosoma and Leishmania. Seven complementary topics were addressed with particular focus on the development of new drugs, discovery of new drug targets and mechanisms-of-action, and drug resistance – a topic on which my two PhD colleagues presented on. I presented my work on ‘Evaluation of homogeneity of L. infantum and L. donovani infection in the hamster by real-time DNA qPCR and Giemsa-stained imprints’ in a final part focusing on novel insights with important implications for treatment. This work has now also been submitted for publication.
I was extremely excited to give my very first oral presentation at this international conference in front of so many internationally recognized experts in the field. Of course, this also resulted in a healthy portion of stress. During my presentation, I was encouraged by the very attentive audience which lead to positive feedback and interesting discussions. As a very young researcher, it was quite challenging to share ideas with more experienced scientists with different backgrounds. As we also attended the conference dinner, this was again a great opportunity for me to network and establish a number of future collaborations.
I encourage PhD students to attend this challenging and interesting meeting and experience the added value of international exposure.