For the Love of Amebas- XVIII Seminar on Amebiasis 2015

The Seminar on Amebiasis is a unique meeting held every 2 years that includes the most recent findings in the amebiasis scientific world. The small size (about 200 people) gives you an opportunity to deeply connect with experts and other students and take extra time to share and receive knowledge with people related to your field.

This year the amebiasis meeting was hosted in the picturesque, oceanfront city of Campeche in Mexico. Campeche is full of colors, nice people, and has a reputation as one of Mexico´s best gastronomies. Located in the Mayan area of the country, the city is surrounded by important archaeological sites. Throughout the streets of this city you will hear all kinds of historical legends, particularly of pirates that plundered these waters.

On the first day, I had the opportunity to walk around the boardwalk and visit some local stores. In the afternoon we had the inauguration ceremony where Dr. Brett Finlay from University of British Columbia gave a talk about the role of microbiota in diseases. The talk was followed by a welcome cocktail where I met with students from other ameba labs from around the world.

The next day started early with oral sessions on cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry of amebas with a poster session at the end where I had the chance to present my work entitled “Colonic microbiota plays a protective role against Entamoeba histolytica induced inflammation in animals lacking a mucus barrier.” A good affluence of people were interested in my project and I received insightful feedback from students and PIs. The night ended with an informative guided tour of the historic city center, a show of lights, and a dinner of local food complete with live music.

On the third day, the sessions were about gene expression, pathogenic mechanisms, and epidemiology as well as an interesting poster session at the end. The night ended with a fresh and delicious seafood dinner.

On the last day, the oral sessions were about immune mechanisms and the treatment and development of new antiamebic drugs. The sessions were followed by an interesting discussion led by Dr. William Petri from University of Virginia and Dr. Nancy Guillen from the Institute Pasteur where the new insights of amebiasis were discussed among students, postdocs, and PIs. That night, there was a farewell dinner gala with Mexican music and food, definitely the most entertaining conference farewell party I have ever attended!

This was my first amebiasis meeting and I found it extremely helpful for increasing my knowledge in this field. This conference gave me the unique opportunity to meet with authors of papers that I have been citing and basing research on throughout my educational career. It allowed me attend talks with the most relevant information in the field, meet people from across the world, and discuss related work in a beautiful setting at this well-organized event. I would like to thank NSERC CREATE HPI for providing the funding for this meeting.

-Aralia León Coria

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