G’day from Australia!
Although the life of a PhD student can involve long days in the lab and seemingly endless hours in front of computers analyzing data, occasionally we are afforded the opportunity and privilege to travel and see the world. So I was overjoyed when I and two other vactrainees- Roberta and Eleni received the opportunity to attend the 5th International Congenital CMV Conference and 15th international CMV/Beta herpes virus workshop which was held in Brisbane, Australia.
After a long and tiring journey from London via Hong Kong I arrived in the city of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. Coming from Europe’s spring to the almost tropical temperature of Brisbane was a little strange but I soon acclimatized and fell in love with this beautiful modern city (although the fear of poisonous snakes and spiders was never far from my mind).
The conference did not disappoint! Taking place in Brisbane’s fantastic conference centre on the south bank of the river, all our needs were catered for. It was an amazing experience, a chance to present our research and talk face to face with many experienced researchers in the field of CMV from different parts of the world was very beneficial for our future carriers. I was very happy to receive constructive feedback on my work from emeritus Prof Stanley Plotkin, one of the leaders in the field of vaccinology and an inspirational scientist. Moreover, the organizers prepared a variety of social events –so meeting, making friends and sharing experiences with many other young researchers could not be any easier.
Of course no trip to Australia would be complete without seeing the amazing wild life that the country has to offer. So I was very excited when on our last day we were taken on an exciting trip to an animal sanctuary just outside Brisbane. Holding a koala in my arms and playing with little kangaroos is an experience I will always remember.