As a final year PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, I presented data from my project to the Annual Meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) 2015, in Lisbon, Portugal. My PhD project largely focuses on the effects of lifestyle and environment on human sperm DNA methylation.
My poster fitted well with other themes at the conference, particularly the session of abstract presentations concerning the epigenetics of male infertility. This was insightful for me as it showcased the most recent updates in reproductive epigenetics research, making it a good reference point and comparison for my poster and intended future publications. It also publicised the relevant contacts for the leading research groups in the field. I also attended talks on sperm DNA damage, male reproductive ageing, and the impact of environmental toxins on reproductive health, all relevant topics to my work.
The display of current trends and directions of male reproductive research allowed me to identify the possible impacts of my own research. Importantly, it also showed what alternative areas of research lie within the wider fields of reproduction, which is where I hope to find opportunities for post-doctoral research.
The ESHRE conference hosted researchers and clinicians from across the globe. I was fortunate enough to meet Professor Mary Herbert, a leading researcher in mitochondrial DNA disease research who was involved in the recent breakthroughs in elimination of mtDNA disease inheritance through pronuclear transfer of embryos. I also met a number of leading embyrologists from the UK, which is important as clinicians and researchers often require a high level of communication for successful collaborations in reproductive biology research. Overall the conference was insightful and beneficial for the future decisions I will make towards a career post-doctoral research.