Embracing immunoparasitology at the beautiful seaside in Woods Hole | Anupama De Silva Ariyaratne

This year I was fortunate enough to attend the Woods Hole immunoparasitology meeting (WHIP) 2016 in Massachusetts, USA. This meeting is held annually at the marine biology laboratory in Woods Hole, which is one of most prestigious oceanographic institutes in the country.

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View from the beach

The conference began on the evening of April 18th .I was a bit timid walking into the conference being the only one representing the Finney lab but I should say, WHIP was such a friendly atmosphere to meet and mingle with fellow researchers.

The first conference key note speaker was Dr. Thomas Wynn, chief of the immunopathogenisis section at the National Institute of Heath, USA. His main focus of research is type 2 immunity, wound repair, and intestinal fibrosis which are directly related to my area of study. Therefore I was really interested in his talk where he discussed how different cytokines play key roles in granuloma formation in the liver and lungs during Schistosoma infections. Even though I work with helminth parasites, I was able to gather valuable information from his talk which I could incorporate into my research.

During the next two days of the conference, there were a lot of talks covering host responses elicited during Leishmaniasis, Toxoplasmosis and Malaria. On the second day I gave a three minute poster pitch to attract attention to the poster I was presenting on my work. Poster sessions were held in the evening of both days and I considered this as an amazing opportunity for me to share my research with fellow scientists and also to gain their valuable ideas and suggestion to take my research in to the next level.

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On the evening of the last day I got the chance to go out and explore this beautiful little town, Woods Hole. This is a quiet town by the sea and the sunset in the evening was mesmerizing. WHIP was a great conference where I had the opportunity to advance my knowledge in the field of immunoparasitology and as well as to meet a lot people in the same scientific community. I walked into WHIP as a stranger and I was fortunate enough to walk out from the conference making a bunch of friends. I left Woods Hole on the morning of the 21st with the hope of visiting this beautiful city for a holiday get-away with my better half.

Finally I would like to thank NSERC CREATE HPI for funding my trip, without which all these amazing experiences would not have been a reality.

 

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