Travel Story: Kavita Panir

Kavita PanirKavita Panir from the Robinson Research Institute’s Endometriosis Research Group attended the Society for Reproductive Biology Annual Scientific Meeting in Gold Coast in August 2016.

Kavita presented her research on An altered immune environment in microRNA-223 deficient mice may contribute to the development of endometriosis-like lesions.

This is what Kavita had to say about her experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?

I was able to meet with several researchers who have unique perspectives on the evolving landscape of reproductive research. In particular, A/Prof Caroline Gargett presented fascinating research on the characterisation of endometrial epithelial progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells in the endometrium. Her team are focussing on defining markers within these cells and outlined the importance of regulated clinical trials for the treatment of multiple clinical disorders. The excellent presentation by Nadia Bellofiore introduced the newly characterised menstrual cycle in the spiny mouse, suggesting that this may provide a more accurate model to study menstruation and menstrual-related disorders compared to the currently available induced rodent models.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? Why are they important to your work?

I met with Dr Fiona L Cousins from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. She has been instrumental in the development of the surgically-induced menstrual mouse model that I am utilising in my PhD project. I was also introduced to Dr Jane Girling from The University of Melbourne, who is also involved in endometriosis research. She was able to provide me with some suggestions and insight into future developments for my project.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?

I was able to gain significant insight into the clinical challenges of reproductive disorders, and this allowed me to better comprehend the necessity for collaborative work between researchers and clinicians to ensure that the research carried out truly addresses the key issues faced by patients with these disorders.

In addition, the opportunity to converse with ‘research giants’ in this field was awe-inspiring and I was able to generate interest in the progression of my project as well as obtain helpful suggestions to improve the outcomes of my project.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?

As this was the first conference that I have been to during the course of my PhD, I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable senior researchers are! It became second nature for me to introduce myself with ‘I’m a big fan of your work’!

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

It was really interesting to meet with other PhD students and discuss some of the highlights and pitfalls in our research. It was good to know that most researchers share similar concerns. I was able to make numerous contacts both academic and social, and may potentially be avenues for future collaboration.

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