Blog | Early Career Research Fund 2022

By Alicia Showering
Alicia Showering at IHMC 2022

I was awarded a travel scholarship from the LSHTM Malaria Centre to attend the International Human Microbiome Congress in Kobe, Japan 8th-10th November 2022.

I presented a poster on my UK work on human attractiveness to mosquitoes. I spoke to a variety of attendees about what makes some of us more attractive to mosquitoes than others and what might protect us from bites in the future. It was an enjoyable experience to discuss my research with a variety of people across all three poster sessions during the conference. I received a lot of interest as people wanted to know how they can reduce bites! It was also beneficial to meet other research groups doing skin microbiome research and explore some synergies between our work.

The conference was broad with a mixture of academic and commercial presentations. I attended many inspiring talks which got me excited for what’s to come as more microbiome products reach the market, microbiome solutions are set to be a future treatment for depression, pain and to improve health.

I particularly enjoyed learning how automated lab equipment can help us in scaling up with an interesting presentation from Prof Rob Knight on how his group reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since used the equipment and processes they developed to scale up microbiome research. There were many applications of functional (long-read sequencing) data, engaging presentations from sequencing providers and plenty on the importance of the often neglected fungi and viruses. I also got to attend a presentation on Live Biotherapeutic Product manufacturing, an area I am keen to learn more about to be able to translate microbiome products to market.

I am very grateful to the travel grant that allowed me to attend the conference, learn from many people working in the space and explore some of Japan!


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