By Martha Lopez Yrigoyen
This year I went to the ‘International Society for Experimental Haematology (ISEH) 47th Annual Scientific Meeting’ in UCLA (Los Angeles, California). This Society was formed in 1972 and has scientists and field leaders from over 40 different countries around the world. The conference lasted from the 23rd to the 26th of August and had over 12 scientific talks each day. I really wanted to go because I was really excited about learning about the current scientific projects developed by world class experts, but more so, about having the opportunity to present and discuss my PhD work with Haematology field leaders, whom I would never get the chance to speak to in person due to distance and time constraints.
UCLA Luskin Centre, where the conference took place
Before I left, I was worried about my project being too basic or not of the interest of the principal investigators attending the conference. However, I was happy to find that my research project is solid and that The University of Edinburgh has trained me as a PhD student to present and perform effectively in a worldwide, top quality conference.
After the conference, my PhD supervisor and I traveled to New York City to set-up a collaborative project and learn a couple of techniques in the lab of James Bieker in Mount Sinai University. I feel that I greatly benefited from Prof. Bieker’s expertise and advice in the use of mouse models and mouse cell culture approaches to further strengthen the final part of my PhD project.
We did have time to explore some of the breath-taking places and urban landscapes of Los Angeles and New York City after we were done with work-related activities. Both cities offered us amazing weather and delightful culinary delicacies! Los Angeles and New York were unique and I definitely will plan a return visit.
Sunset in LA (Santa Monica Pier) after the conference
New York City urban landscapes!
In summary, this trip to the United States allowed me to grow confident in my PhD project and my communication skills. Most importantly, it allowed me to interact with many other international participants at different career stages, which provided a fantastic networking opportunity that will hopefully result in lifelong friendships and potential collaborators. All the talks opened up a landscape of opportunities for me for possible future research avenues once I finish my PhD. What I enjoyed the most is that my time in the conference and with our collaborator made me realise that ‘Science’ is an international language. It is very inspiring to see so many people on board of projects that have as the first aim to improve human health and ensure human well-being. I am sure that many of the projects I learned about are currently or eventually will make a difference!