ICTMM2020 | Stamping out Tropical Diseases: The Countdown Begins
I was awarded with the Malaria Centre Early Career Research Fund, which allowed me to attend the International Congress for Tropical Diseases and Malaria, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand (this conference was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until October 24th- October 28th, 2022).
Whilst I have attended smaller symposiums and conferences, this was the largest conference that I have attended to date, which was an eye-opening and amazing opportunity. After recently completing my PhD at the start of the year at LSHTM, I was accepted to give a talk at ICTMM2020, which was the first talk that I had given at an international conference. This resulted in discussions with researchers from many different institutions across the globe, leading led to some important insights into my own work, further benefitting my research going forward.
There were many interesting talks during the 5-day conference, my research interest is malaria, genomics, and drug resistance, therefore, personal highlights for me were hearing from keynote speakers such as Professor Sir Nicholas White, known for his work with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACTs). Additionally, I enjoyed the keynote talk from Professor Dyann Wirth, whose research is focussed on genomics of the malaria parasite, and how parasites adapt and evolve over time, specifically in response to drug pressure.
The conference was extremely large, covering a broad range of research including malaria parasite biology, kinetoplasts, helminths, vector biology, medicinal chemistry, COVID-19, Dengue, HIV, snake bites, zoonotic diseases and many more. I greatly benefitted from talks outside of my research area, and particularly enjoyed talks focussed on zoonotic malaria, which is a continued threat in Southeast Asia where the conference was held. Previous conferences I have been to have been based in the UK or Europe, and I believe that I greatly benefitted from hearing from researchers based in Southeast Asia, where the current impact of zoonotic malaria is evident.
Conferences and events where researchers can meet and communicate with scientists that they would not usually interact with are extremely beneficial and important for expanding our research network. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that in person conferences have not been conducted, and therefore I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak about my PhD research at ICTMM after 2 years of it being delayed.
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