All of a sudden California – EB 2016

“All of a sudden California” is the name (translating from Portuguese) of a popular song in Brazil, my home country (you can listen to the song in this link https://youtu.be/cx7U3_u12EU). In this song, the singer (Lulu Santos) says that he is going to California to be a movie star. I grew up listening this song, imaging the paradise described in the words and dreaming to visit California. The diference is that I never wanted to be a movie star. My dream was to be a scientist.

This year, science and NSERC CREATE HPI brought me to California. It was to attend the Experimental Biology (EB) 2016, held in San Diego. EB is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. It’s just huge!

The trip started a little stressful. It’s because, in Brazil we use two family names. One from mother family and other from father name. When I booked my fly, I filled the field “last name” with my last name (Lopes, which is my father’s family). But in my passport the reference is not last name, but family name (Carvalho Lopes). At check in, the airline said I wasn’t the guy in the booking. In the end, after much stress, I got to board, and everything after this was smooth. I wanted to drop this line mainly to Brazilians and other Latin people who have two or more family names. For somes, last name does not means the name that comes last, but the hole family name. Anyway!

I presented my research in the first day of the conference. A project which I develop with my principal collaborator since I arrived in Dr. Derek McKay’s lab, Dr. Jose Reyes, a former HPI trainee. In this project we have identified a cellular population that is recruited by extracts from worm parasite. Moreover, this cell population have the ability to inhibit a model of Crohn’s disease, identifying mechanisms to treat patients with Crohn’s disease.

Having done my main task in the conference in the first day, I had four more days to have fun. Nothing is more fun than appreciate the cutting edge science that is being doing around the world. And where would it be better than a conference with 14,000 attendees? The talks and posters blew my mind. I got many new ideas to improve ongoing projects and to new projects. I also could narrow laces with scientists who I already knew, and to know others for the first time. This was formidable to my network.

And sure, I also had fun out the conference. San Diego is beautiful. At least the downtown, where I was hosted, and had the chance to look around. Amazing restaurants and pub, car that you can just see in south of California and a beautiful marina, where I ran in the mornings before the conference. One night, I attended a traditional event in EBs. The concert of the band GI Distress. It’s a band formed with professors in the gastrointestinal field from different parts of the globe who meet every year to do science in EB and make rock’n’roll. And believe me, they rock!

All of a sudden California, science and rock’n’roll. It’s a dream accomplished.

Fernando Lopes – Post doc Fellow – Dr. Derek McKay lab – HPI

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