Thanks to the generous support of the Biochemical Society I was able to attend and present my work at the GRC on Cilia, Mucus and Mucociliary Clearance in Galveston, Texas in February 2015 (8-13th).
The Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are among the most prestigious in any field. Unlike other meetings, GRCs have a limited number of delegates who have to be invited by the chairs (in contrast to other meetings where delegate numbers reach tens of thousands) and meetings are held in relatively isolated locations. In addition, all attendees have all meals together at the conference site- provided as part of the registration cost. This approach encourages an informal community atmosphere that facilitates discussion and collaboration even between junior researchers and renowned world leading experts.
The “off-record” nature of GRC conferences prevents me going into detail with regards to the data presented. However, this meant that I was exposed to the most cutting-edge research in the field of cilia, mucus and mucociliary interactions and a lot of exciting work is taking place to better understand motile cilia function and produce better models in which to test therapies for CF and PCD.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to give the final talk of the conference where I presented my work on “minicircle DNA for airway gene delivery” which was of interest to a number of delegates as was my poster on “BMI-1 transduced basal epithelial cells for modelling respiratory diseases”. Both works raised a number of opportunities for new collaborations including agreeing in principle on the transfer of reagents to test gene therapy for PCD and further our understanding of the function of proteins that form the cilia, many of which when mutated cause PCD.
Attendance to this conference has given me the opportunity to discuss career progression with leading investigators and has opened avenues for me to explore further with regards to post-doctoral opportunities and collaborations for fellowship applications. As such, I am extremely grateful to the Biochemical Society for the generous contribution.