I recently had the opportunity to attend the Madison Topic Meeting: Aging, Metabolism, Stress, Pathogenesis and Small RNAs in C. elegans (July 10-13). This is an international meeting held every two years at the University of Madison WI on the shores of the beautiful Lake Mendota. Other international C. elegans meetings can be mind-blowing big, with several thousand attendees and multiple concurrent sessions, the Madison meetings, are by comparison, quite intimate – several hundred attendees and a single session, which is great as you don’t have to feel like you are missing out on great talks held in other locations.
I was thrilled to be selected to give a talk on my research at this meeting. The title of my talk was “Metabolism of benzimidazole anthelmintics in Caenorhabditis elegans, and the ruminant parasite, Haemonchus contortus.” In our lab we use C. elegans a model to investigate the molecular mechanisms of anthelmintic metabolism and it role in resistance. All organisms use metabolism to remove toxic foreign molecules (xenobiotics) from their cells, we are studying how this effects the efficacy of anthelmintics used to treat parasitic nematodes. This was my first time presenting at an international meeting and I was more than a little nervous – public speaking not being the easiest thing. There was the added restriction of trying to clearly and concisely describe a lot of research in 12 minutes, many thanks to my lab members for providing feedback during my practice talk. I admit, I was extremely conscious of my leg shaking throughout the entire talk! I tried to disguise this by walking around as I was presenting. The talk went well and the opportunity to present at such a prestigious meeting is a definite confidence boost, since I survived it I know I can do it again.
This meeting attracts researchers from all over the globe; I met people from the UK, Spain, Greece and of course a lot of people from Canada and the US. There were so many impressive talks at this meeting and it is always exciting to hear all the work being done in this powerful nematode model. Keynote speaker, Gary Ruvkun an eminent C. elegans researcher also discussed the important role of xenobiotic metabolism in avoidance behavior of the worm, and there was an interesting poster from the Stefan Taubert lab on the “Functional characterization of metabolic gene regulation by NHR-49”.
The C. elegans community is known amongst model organism researchers as being very cooperative and supportive, with open sharing of resources and information. To hear the interesting talks, meet people involved in these research was very motivating, and the feedback in my talk has inspired me with some new ideas! Many thanks for HPI for making this trip possible!