57th Annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists in St. John’s | By Kaylee Rich

Last week, Chenhua Li and I, representing the Wasmuth lab, had the pleasure to travel to St. John’s, NB, to attend the 57th Annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists (CSZ). CSZ_usThe CSZ has four main sections: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology (CBP); Parasitology, Immunology and Environment (PIE); Comparative Morphology and Development (CMD); and Integrative Ecology and Evolution (IEE). HPI was well represented in the PIE section, with trainees presenting talks and a poster on their research happening in Alberta. James Wasmuth chaired the first PIE session and also talked about the research happening in his lab. Chenhua talked in the first PIE session about her research on Dicrocoelium and Sarah Unrau (Goater lab) added to the Dicrocoelium knowledge with her talk in the second PIE session the same day. Cam Goater talked in and chaired this session, where Micky Ahn (Goater lab) gave a great talk on trematode-host interactions. HPI was represented in the poster section by me and my poster on trematode microbiomes.

John Gilleard received the R.A. Wardle award and presented on the work his lab is doing on drug resistance in parasitic nematodes. HPI also won the CSZ 2018 award for public education, for our efforts in outreach to high school students and the general public.

john_talk

The rest of the conference was a lot of fun and very educational. Since this meeting has a very broad scope, we were able to attend lectures by other amazing scientists on diverse topics. My favorite was the talk by Dr. Laura Ferguson on her research into how temperature can affect the microbiome of insects.

We also had the opportunity to do some sight seeing around St. John’s, and it was beautiful (if not a bit windy). We walked up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower and visited the Johnson Geo Center, where we learned a lot about the Titanic and different rock formations unique to Newfoundland and Labrador. And the day before we left I had a day to look around some of the local shops and talk to people in the city.

We are looking forward to next year’s meeting, which will take place in Windsor, ON. James is the new vice-chair for the PIE section and Chenhua is the new student representative.

Advertisements

Prairie University Biodiversity Symposium at the University of Calgary | By Micky Ahn

At the end of February, I had the opportunity to attend the Prairie University Biology Symposium (PUBS) held at the University of Calgary. PUBS is a research symposium organized by students and has been bringing together researchers from the Canadian prairie provinces for over 50 years.  Along with my lab mate and fellow HPI trainee, Sarah Unrau, and other graduate students of the University of Lethbridge, we made the drive up to Calgary to attend the meeting.

PUBS at the U of C was a rather large event with over 50 presentations and 50 posters, all from graduate students. There was a lot of diversity in topics, with 3 concurrent sessions running all day ranging from cell biology to ecology. Even within each session the huge variety of study systems and projects were exciting. Both Sarah and I had the privilege of presenting orally in the “Species Interactions and Dynamics” session during which I spoke about the effects of parasites in fathead minnows in a presentation titled “Consequences of parasitism: Reproduction of a population of male fathead minnows in northern Alberta”.

The symposium was very well organized and the efforts from the organizing committee to put together a smooth event were evident. One of the most exciting features of the event was the keynote talk given by Dr. David Suzuki. Being a major activist for the protection of our natural environment, Dr. Suzuki gave a talk that was just as much inspiring as it was humorous. Even though his presentation was open to the public, attendees of PUBS were given preferential seating and it was a great privilege to hear his talk in such close proximity.

Attending the meeting was an amazing experience and a great opportunity for me to share my interests for parasites with my peers. Thank you very much to HPI for giving me the chance to present my work in Calgary!

Anthelmintics: Discovery to Resistance III by Kyle Lesack

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend the Anthelmintics III conference in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about cutting edge research in a variety of topics related to the development of anthelmintic drugs, including drug discovery, anthelmintic resistance mechanisms, and future parasite control strategies. The conference included a diverse group of speakers from both academia and industry, and their talks provided excellent insight into some of the challenges that I will be facing in my PhD thesis work on detoxification gene families in nematodes. Some of my favorite talks included Dave Curran’s demonstration on the use of metabolic networks to study the relationship between Wolbachia and filarial nematodes, the genetic basis of benzimidazole resistance in C. elegans by Steffan Hahnel, and an analysis of thiabendazole-induced expression of seven cytochrome P450 genes in H. contortus by Jürgen Krücken.

I had the opportunity to present our work on an evolutionary analysis of drug metabolising pathways from several members of the Caenorhabditis genus. I received excellent feedback from experts in the field, which will help me going forward. I was also pleased that several researchers expressed interest in using our bioinformatics tools (developed by Dr. Dave Curran while he was a member of the Wasmuth lab) for their own research.

I would like to thank the HPI group and my supervisor Dr. James Wasmuth for this opportunity. I hope that I will have the opportunity to attend the Anthelmintics IV conference in 2020!

Picture1.pngExample of the local fauna

Anthelmintics III Conference at Tampa, Florida by Grace Mariene

The thought of being at the airport at 3.00 am to catch a flight to Tampa, at -27 degrees Celsius, did not sound like an interesting idea. But the thought of staying at the Indian Rock Beach hotel for the Anthelmintics III, 2018 conference warmed my heart. The long journey started on the 29th January, with a connecting flight inHouston, Texas. Arriving at the hotel that evening was a relief and all I could think of was food, shower and sleep. The conference schedule was tight and so a refreshed mind was needful.

Tuesday, January 30th started early with some light breakfast and a couple of interactions.  At last I could enjoy some sunlight after weeks of being frozen in Calgary, phew! The hotel was great and the scenery overlooking my room was beautiful and calming.

Picture1

Picture2

The first session kicked off with three great talks about the signalling pathways of various parasitic nematodes and their hosts as part of the anthelmintic strategy.  After a coffee break, there were five other great talks on the molecular targets for a new generation of anthelmintics. A buffet lunch was offered at the cafeteria and I had the opportunity to taste some seafood. Later in the afternoon, we had poster session 1 which started with pitch slide presentations from all the poster presenters. The poster presenters were given 1 minute to sell their poster to the meeting, with the aim of persuading as many people as possible to discuss their work during the poster session.  This session was very interesting, and I had the opportunity to get an overview of almost all the research that surrounded this topic of anthelmintic resistance.

Wednesday, January 31st started early as well with some light breakfast and interactions. The talks kicked off at exactly 8.30 am with most of the talks revolving around genomics and bioinformatics. This was particularly interesting to me as my area of research involves the same. After the coffee break, there were five talks on the immune-modulating pathways of parasitic nematodes. I had the opportunity to co-chair the afternoon session preceding the poster and pitch sessions 2, as well as give my pitch slide talk and poster presentation. I must say I was very excited and “shocked” to meet Dr. Rosalind Laing, whose work I read a lot about, and refer to and cite often in my research. I always thought, going by her name, that she was an old male scientist, weird? yes, I know! On the contrary, she was a young female scientist with a sharp mind. This greatly motivated me in my young science career. She came over to my poster, together with others and we had a great talk around my area of research and it felt great to mention her work as I gave my presentation. I couldn’t help stealing glances at her occasionally just to clear my misconception, ha! In it all, I learnt a lot during this session as great ideas were floated to me on the flow and projection of my research. After this session, we went out to a nearby restaurant for some good sea food. It was an exhausting but fulfilling day.

Thursday, February 1st started early as usual with a light breakfast and interesting talks lined up for the day. The talks revolved around transcriptomics, genome and genetic approaches linked to anthelmintic resistance, all of which were particularly useful in my area of research. After the coffee break, there were a couple of other great talks on micro RNAs and their role in anthelmintics resistance, among others. Later in the afternoon, there was a great workshop for early career researchers, which covered various career options, funding etc. Experienced researchers/scientists shared their career journey and tips of survival as well as prospective career paths for the young scientists. I learnt so much from this workshop and was able to think more clearly on my career path. A sumptuous closing dinner followed later in the evening with the winners for the poster session being announced. Further interactions went on until late into the night. A few of us went to play mini-golf, a game I was playing for the first time and I had lots of fun. Luckily, I did not come out last!

Picture3.png

We were all exhausted at the end of the day but happy.

Friday, February 2nd, started earlier than usual. It was time to pack our bags in readiness to travel back to Calgary that afternoon. We had a heavy breakfast this day, followed by six talks that revolved around the pharmacology and feeding behaviours of parasitic nematodes. We were clearly exhausted at the end of this session and our minds switched modes thinking of the journey back and the cold weather waiting to “welcome” us back home. After days of dressing lightly and walking around in sandals, it was time to confirm our winter boots and jackets were still intact. The conference ended at around noon and the shuttle to take us to the airport was ready for us at 1.00 pm. It was exciting to go back home and particularly for me because I had a wedding to attend the following day!

The Anthelmintic III conference was an awesome experience for me, very enlightening and fun too!! Thank you HPI and my supervisor Dr. James Wasmuth for your support!

 

Escape from the snowy Alberta to learn about Anthelmintics by Edina Szabo

I have been fortunate enough to spend a week away from the -20 °C and the white covers of Alberta and put my bikini on during the breaks of a very exciting conference in Florida.

The Anthelmintics: Discovery to Resistance was the third of the anthelmintic conference series that are usually based in the south of USA. The hotel that hosted the event was located right at the harbour, and about 5 minutes walk from the sandy beach of the Gulf of Mexico. The conference schedule was set up to benefit all attendees having a long lunchtime break to explore the surroundings. I have definitely taken advantage of that time to have a long stroll along the beach, and luckily had a short period of time when I could actually enjoy sunbathing as well.

Picture1.png  Picture2png.png

Our days started off with breakfast at the venue followed by the first two sessions of oral presentations. After the long lunch break, we were all fresh to continue with another session of presentations and the poster pitches before the poster session in the evenings. I really liked the schedule of the day, having to start early and finishing late with a decent break in between. This schedule gave us time to chat to other researchers, explore local food, and just generally to network.

Picture3.png

I have learnt a lot from the presentations on drug discoveries and resistance, and tried to understand some from the bioinformatics field. I enjoyed Dave Curran’s talk, who recently moved away from Calgary to join a group at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

The talk I enjoyed the most was about the host-seeking behaviour of skin-penetrating nematodes by Elissa Hallem, an invited speaker from UCLA. She was talking about the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying host seeking of nematodes. They have found that the strongest attractants are also mosquito attractants, and currently using CRISPR-Cas9 to investigate the molecular basis of these behaviours.

Another talk by Janis Weeks, from University of Oregon & Nemametrix, also caught my attention on feeding in Haemonchus contortus larvae. They have characterized pharyngeal pumping, which involved in feeding, using video-microscopy, and identified a neuromodulator as the stimulus for the pumping behaviour. Microfluidics device, so called “chips”, was developed to record electropharyngeograms from parasitic and non-parasitic nematodes.

I also had a chance to chat to our collaborator, Peter Roy from the University of Toronto, and discuss future steps regarding our recent experiment. During the poster session I had great feedback on my research, which I am going to take into consideration when setting up new experiments.

Before the poster sessions, each presenter had a chance to introduce their research briefly and invite people to their poster later in the evening. Aaron Maule from the University of Belfast was very well prepared for the poster pitch by giving us a very well delivered speech in the form of a rhyme that everyone enjoyed very much.

The whole atmosphere was great all the way through the conference, as it was a smaller event we had a lot of chance to talk to other researchers and have greater discussions. Even though it was a short time in the sunshine state of the US, it was a great opportunity and time spent before we headed back to the snowy mountains.

Picture4.png

Anthelmintics: Discovery to Resistance III in the Sunshine State by Janneke Wit

When temperatures in Calgary once again dropped below -20˚C late January, several members from the Gilleard, Wasmuth and Finney labs escaped to a warmer dwelling: Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Here we attended a conference focussing on anything related to drug treatment of parasitic worms: Anthelminthics III, from discovery to resistance.

Edina and I took the opportunity to spend the weekend prior in sunny Florida, racing from Tampa to Miami, Key West, back up to Miami, the Everglades, Naples, Tampa and finally Indian Rocks Beach. One of the highlights for me was the amount of alligators we saw – Figure 1. Not on our hovercraft tour – with a grand total of one — but next to the highway! Over one hundred, and that’s being conservative. They were there warming up in the sun. According to our shuttle driver this was because they were warm blooded, but he’s forgiven for that, as he was a great tour guide, pointing us to dolphins in Old Tampa Bay and showing pictures of his impressive collection of historic cars.

Picture1

Figure 1 – Alligators right next to the highway, and in the everglades showing of its perfect pearly whites, which surely come in handy when snacking on beautiful pelicans

The damage of last year’s hurricane Irma was still clearly visible, especially in the Keys. During the Everglades tour we were told this was the biggest storm since Hurricane Dora in the early sixties. Given that fact, it was impressive how quickly the debris has been cleaned. They piled all damaged goods neatly next to the roads and were busy removing it all. The main destruction was visible on the less busy beaches, where dead marine vegetation and a washed up motorcycle were silent witnesses of the massive destruction that had taken place – Figure 2.

Picture2

Figure 2 – Damage by hurricane Irma on a small beach in the Keys.

After this trip, a pleasant surprise was waiting for me at Indian Rocks Beach. The conference organizers had arranged for discounted prices at the hotel, which led to us booking there en masse. This in turn resulted in a super luxurious upgrade for several of the attendees. Rather than a two-queen bedroom with kitchen and additional pull out bed, some of us, including lucky me, got a King Villa Loft (amongst others a two floor studio with marina view and so much closet space, I regretted bringing just hand luggage – Figure 3). So when another busy day was over I now had to choose between tasty fish in one of the restaurants close by, or a relaxing night in my private Jacuzzi. Finding a good balance between the two, I must say this has been the most relaxing conference I have ever been to!

Picture3.png

Figure 3 – My humble abode.

The conference was perfectly tailored to my project, for which I am looking for the effects of drug treatment on the Haemonchus contortus genome. The program was very diverse, with something for everyone: drug discovery and development from both an industry and academic point of view, including phenotypic studies of the effect of different compounds on motility for example, but also die hard computational modelling of metabolic networks by HPI-alumnus Dave Curran.

Day three of the conference was a merry mix of talks by friends and collaborators. Umer, an alumnus from the Gilleard lab, as well as James and I gave talks, along with Eric Andersen, who attended our HPI conference last year, and several of Dr. Gilleards UK and US collaborators. The two morning sessions showed neatly how much progress is being made using the high quality H. contortus reference genome to identify genomic regions under selection due to drug treatment in the ongoing search for mutations underlying drug resistance against several classes of anthelmintics. Caenorhabditis elegans and Teladorsagia circumcincta were other worms that took the stage, all illustrating how the use of natural field populations can help improve our understanding of the genetics of anthelmintic resistance.

Picture4.png

Figure 4 – Seafood galore.

Before going back to landlocked Calgary, I decided to treat myself to a rather large meal of fresh sea treats, as seen here in the picture. It was a challenge, but I managed (aside from the unnecessary fillers: potato and sausage – Figure 4). Thank you HPI for funding my attendance at this great conference, and for those of you working on anything related to anthelmintics, keep an eye out for Anthelmintics IV on 2020 – this will be held late January/early February, traditionally at another warm location in the US, to ensure maximum attendance!

Ecology Across Borders: Joint Annual Meeting 2017 in Ghent, Belgium by Michelle Gordy

In mid-December, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a rather large international meeting of Ecologists in the beautiful city of Ghent, Belgium. With the combined efforts and membership base of the British Ecological Society, the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the Netherlands-Flanders Ecological Society, and the European Ecological Federation, there were over 1500 delegates from across the globe, 72 parallel sessions, 600 oral presentations and 500 posters. As is inherent in the field of Ecology, the range of topics was very broad, and there seemed to be something for everyone…including us parasitologists. I was incredibly excited to meet other parasite ecologists, and to top it off, this was my very first trip to Europe, and I couldn’t be more pumped!

What I had not expected is that I would have accidentally brought a bit of Canada with me, and the conference would be in the middle of an epic snowstorm in Belgium, a country that has not had snow for the previous four years! The six or so inches of incredibly wet, thick, snow that came down in just a matter of hours, shut down all modes of transit…except bikes, because nothing stops a cyclist in Ghent! (Ghent boasts the largest designated cycling area in all of Europe) This would mean a half hour walk from my hotel to the conference venue in wet, slushy, snow. Luckily, being from Canada, and having just bought some waterproof boots before the trip, I was incredibly prepared, and it ended up being a nice little tour of the city. Unfortunately, most the other delegates were not expecting this weather and had to be creative with protective footwear of plastic bags and extra socks, and many coming from the UK didn’t even make it.

From 8am to 2am everyday, there was always something going on. I had signed up to volunteer for the meeting (to help cover my registration costs), and so my day was usually divided between sitting at the registration desk or helping in a session with transitioning between speakers, attending a lunchtime workshop, attending more sessions in the afternoon, then finding a group to join for dinner and socializing in the evening. Everyday was packed full of good science and good people. I was pleasantly surprised as to how friendly and welcoming everyone was, and not knowing anyone else at the conference, this meant there was never a dull moment, and always someone to talk to.

Perhaps this was just my own experience, but one of the most positive aspects of this conference, I found, was the feeling of inclusivity. Often at conferences, it is easy to feel as if it becomes divided into cliques, whether based on study interest, or because people stay within their lab groups, or because the workshops are focused on improvement of the individual. This conference, in nearly every aspect felt welcoming, and as if the goal was collaboration. All the workshops I attended were organized into groups working together to achieve a common goal, and to understand the breadth of understanding and problems in an area based on sharing experiences. I had the opportunity to attend workshops on early career development, citizen science, and joint species distribution modelling. Though I did not walk away with any new practical skills, I did gain a broader perspective and understanding of the subjects covered within each workshop, and felt like I contributed as well.

Having never been to an ecology meeting before, I was quite impressed with the turnout of parasitologists and the number of parasite associated talks and posters at the meeting. The British Ecological Society even has a Parasite and Pathogen Ecology and Evolution section that organizes special sessions and social events. At the meeting, they threw a pizza party meet and greet, which had a great turn out and started some excellent discussions.

ASTMH Annual Meeting, 2017 by Catherine Mitran

I had the pleasure of attending the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual meeting and the John Hopkins Malaria Research Day in Baltimore in November 2017. The symposium at John Hopkins University was a one-day event, while the ASTMH meeting was held over 5 days. It was great to be able to attend both of these meetings as the John Hopkins meeting was strictly focused on malaria, whereas the ASTMH meeting had a huge variety of scientific content.

I also had the opportunity to present my research in three different poster sessions between the two conferences. This was an excellent opportunity to engage with other researchers in the field. Almost 1/3 of the 4,500 attendees at the ASTMH meeting were trainees so there were lot of sessions and events that specifically targeted students. For an example one of the poster sessions that I presented at was a part of the Young Investigator’s Competition. It was interesting to present a poster in this competition, because it is done more like an oral presentation as the whole group listens to one poster presentation at a time. Another session that I really enjoyed was the “office hours,” where trainees can sit down with two different professionals each day from a range of backgrounds and have a casual conversation about their current careers and career paths.

We also had a day off between the two meetings, so we were able to visit Washington, DC, which was about a 45 min train ride away. It was amazing to see all the different monuments and historical buildings, including the Whitehouse (despite the current occupant). All in all it was a great experience and I would highly recommend this conference to anyone who has an interest in tropical disease research. I’ve never attended a conference that is so trainee-focused, yet attracts many of the top researchers in the field.

Thank you to HPI for the funding to attend these conferences.

Picture1.png

Ecological Models and Data at Bamfield By Michelle Gordy

“A unique experience” is probably the best way to describe, likely any course at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Center (BMSC), but most definitely the Ecological Models and Data course. Set in the small marine village of Bamfield, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC, the BMSC provides a temporary home to researchers and students from all over Canada and beyond. Nestled behind the Broken Islands within Barkley Sound, the BMSC sits between epic forests and the Pacific Ocean. The campus offers outstanding views, all from the comfort of “The Rix” (Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries) and the library, where we spent about 85% of our time, because this was a computer-based course. We did get the chance to visit some of the amazingly beautiful beaches, hike a bit of the West Coast Trail, and play around in the intertidal zone to see the plethora of marine life surrounding us. Beyond the scenery, this course uniquely offered an intensive three weeks of mathematical modelling, computer programming, ethical discussions on p-values and scientific philosophies, random row boat trips to get ice cream, late nights at the library, and random bouts of sleep-deprived laughter.

The view from The Rix

(Photo credit: Jody Reimer)

The view from the library

Trips to the beach for paper discussions

(Photo credit: Jody Reimer)

The intensity of the course not only created an atmosphere of bonding between the students, but an opportunity to learn through teaching, something I was not expecting. What I mean by this, is that there was a wide variety of backgrounds among the students, ranging from undergraduate students who have never used R to PhD students that use R every day, or are in the math department and learning how to use ecological models. When we would work on our labs together, we would all, at some point during the course (usually late at night in the Rix or the library), would take what we knew and teach it to our fellow classmates, so we would all successfully complete the labs on time. The learning curve associated with this course was high, and the instructors knew it; they were outstanding at being there (some even during the night) to help us through, and guide us. Though the workload was high, and the timeframe short, I believe that being at the BMSC and being away from the business of home helped to provide the best learning atmosphere. The collective knowledge of the instructors and the TA were impressive, and they all presented an incredible ability to teach and relate abstract concepts to real world problems.

This course benefits my professional development in more ways than I expected. I had originally thought it would be a great way to finally learn how to use R, the most widely used computer program for ecologists, and this would be the greatest benefit for my future career. While, yes, I did definitely learn how to use R, I also learned a great deal about statistics, about ethics in publishing, about how learning isn’t always best done by someone telling you exactly how to do something, but rather helping someone to figure it out on their own, and that hard work really pays off. I learned a great deal about getting out of my “comfort zone”, and dealing with complex problems in a short timeframe. I have no doubts that these lessons have impacted the way in which I view a career in science/research, and that they will improve my chances at success in both my current PhD research, and in my future career as well. Having a greater understanding of best practices in ecological research and modelling has already changed the way in which I am considering the analyses I will be using on the data I have collected, and how I communicate that to other students in the lab.

The best quote to summarize the Ecological Models and Data course came from our first lecture. It was “See the ecological forest through the statistical trees. Because if you don’t… there be dragons!!”. This quote not only made it to the back of our class t-shirts, but serves as a reminder that statistics can often be misleading, and we can often use them wrongly. It is important to have a strong understanding of the statistics and models you’re using, because you could be missing what’s really going on, or misinterpreting the true patterns.

The dragon part comes in because every time we learned about “the wrong way to do things”, ‘Hurlbert’ the dragon would appear.

          

My only advice to other students interested in taking this course would be to come into it knowing that the intensity is worth the payoff.

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to HPI and the University of Alberta for helping to fund this opportunity through professional development awards.

WorldLeish in the historic city of Toledo by Camila Meira

My journey in leishmaniasis research started a while ago, when I still was an undergrad student starting the first internship in a prestigious research institution in Brazil. At that moment, I felt so excited about the work with a fascinating and intriguing parasite that I could not wait for a chance to be with those that were carrying out most of the published works I had as reference for my own projects.

18817686_10213461499035668_1569561104_o

Two weeks ago, I finally had this opportunity at the 6th World Conference on Leishmaniasis (WorldLeish) and I cannot stop saying: it was worth every second! The WorldLeish Conferences are held every four years in countries where leishmaniasis is one of the major health issues. This year, the conference was in Toledo, Spain, and brought together almost 1500 leishmaniacs from all over the world to present and attend oral or poster sessions on numerous topics on leishmaniasis, ranging from taxonomy and molecular studies on Leishmania spp. to advances in treatment and diagnostic tools for both anthroponotic and zoonotic diseases. I was scheduled to present in the first poster session, when everybody is clearly eager to discuss and share valuable ideas on your research topic hahaha. As a young scientist that started a MSc project on an innovative and challenging topic, which is the interaction between Leishmania and its host cell via exosomes, I was really looking forward for this moment, surrounded by experts in this field. I was surprised in seeing how the research on exosomes have expanded so quickly and how many good concepts and models are coming up from it. It was easy and enjoyable to get myself engaged in endless conversations with other grad students on personal experiences and novel ideas that we could develop together in collaborative projects. The WorldLeish was also an excellent chance to meet my Brazilian fellows from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation-Bahia. It was more than a pleasure to see again these friends of mine that were back there helping me out in the lab when I was giving my very first steps towards this moment of my life.

18817451_10213461495155571_63805752_o

The WorldLeish was a fantastic experience that I had the opportunity to share with my supervisor, the famous Lash, “the flash”, and his wife, Rani, who were also attending it. Believe it or not, I never saw Lash so excited about meeting a bunch of old friends before this conference hahaha! Regarding the city, there is no doubt that the organizers could not have chosen any better place than Toledo. This city is spectacular! A peaceful and historical countryside was all I was asking for after a busy term. I truly miss the amazing view from the terrace of the Congress Center El Greco, where we had our daily Spanish meals outdoors, admiring the landscape. I will definitely come back one day and get lost in the narrow streets of this charming city!

18870271_10213461495195572_1183914742_o

To sum up, I could not be more grateful for participating in the 6th WorldLeish! I learned so much during these five days of conference that now I feel more confident to move forward, incorporating new and exciting concepts in my project. I am very thankful to Lash and HPI for making this possible!