‘I am a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College, London, with a small research group. I was really keen to attend the European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo for several reasons. First I wanted to promote my research on a childhood neurodegenerative disease (Batten Disease), second to encourage the incorporation of biochemistry with studies using the zebrafish model, third to remain abreast of recent findings, new tools and best husbandry practice, and fourth to meet future collaborators.
I applied for funding from the Biochemical Society because their remit fits with these aims and my research budget does not extend to conferences, as it is predominantly funded by a disease focused, children’s medical research charity called Sparks.
I presented a seminar in the Therapeutics, Angiogenesis and Cell Development session entitled ‘Valproic Acid Attenuates Seizures And Extends Lifespan Of The Zebrafish Model Of CLN2 Disease (Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis)’. I was pleased to receive some insightful questions that has helped me to refine the project before sending to a journal for publication. The exposure a platform presentation gave was a real bonus, allowing me to also highlight my postdoc’s poster.
The poster sessions were really buzzing and those nine hours were the best time for networking, providing the perfect chance to meet everyone I wanted to and then get interested in research less related to mine – sometimes I come across something important in the places I least expect it! Together my postdoc and I forged several new relationships, for example one with a scientist beginning to work on a related disease with whom we will share expertise, and another who performs high-throughput chemical screening of zebrafish with whom we hope to collaborate.
I was also really lucky to catch up with old colleagues and explore a really lovely, interesting city.’