Thanks to an ASPS Travel Award, I was able to attend the ComBio2017 conference this October in Adelaide, South Australia. It was personally and professionally fulfilling not only to be attending, but presenting, at my very first ComBio. The conference is the main forum for the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZSCDB), and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (ASPS), with the societies coming together for three days to promote the latest in research and education, as well as enable invaluable network opportunities.
For me, a highlight of the conference was the plenary Annals of Botany Lecture on the second day featuring Professor Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre. Professor Martin works to increase polyphenol phytonutrients in fruits: compounds with therapeutic properties that could potentially mitigate artherosclerosis and other inflammatory conditions. She emphatically stated: ‘Medicine is not healthcare, food is healthcare. Medicine is sickcare’ – an appropriate reminder for us all.
Over the next two days I attended an array of symposia including: Plant Energy Use Efficiency, Next-generation Phenotyping, Plant Walls and Membranes, Abiotic Stress Tolerance, Microbe-Plant Interactions, and Plant Reproductive Biology. All talks gave me vital insight into the current plant biology research being undertaken worldwide, and offered me several new avenues for my own research – particularly techniques to elucidate the molecular regulation of genes involved in emerging regulatory pathways. The conference delivered an impressive balance of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, associate professors, and professors presenting their cutting-edge research or stories of discovery.
As part of the crop productivity symposium, I presented my research topic Drought Response in Low-Cyanogenic Sorghum bicolor Mutants; with the presentation being very well received. I took a number of questions during the allocated question time and was given valuable advice driving new exploration within the scope of my research program. It is now the fourth time within a two-year period that I have been a conference presenter. As one might expect, my confidence grows with each presentation and as I become more adept; and there is always a constant challenge to improve and hone my skills in order to deliver a story with a clear message that engages interest and drives impact.
I am extremely grateful to ASPS for providing funding that enabled me to attend the conference and present my research to the plant science community.
Contact: Viviana Rosati (firstname.lastname@example.org)