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Travel Story: Dr Prabha Andraweera

PrabhaAndraweeraDr Prabha Andraweera from the Robinson Research Institute’s Placental Development Group attended the International Federation of Placenta Associations 2015 congress in Brisbane. Prabha was an invited speaker at the “Biomarkers for preeclampsia” workshop and presented her research on single nucleotide polymorphisms as potential biomarkers for preeclampsia. She also presented three posters and received an ANZPRA New Investigator Award at this conference.

This is what Prabha had to say about her experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?
Overall, the conference was extremely informative. The discussions on the role of the placenta as a programming agent for later life vascular and metabolic diseases were of particular interest.

Did you visit any labs or research facilities? – How was this useful to your work?
I did not visit any labs but the conference provided ample opportunity to network. The conference also comprised 12 workshops that provided time to discuss a range of basic science and clinical topics in placentation and pregnancy complications.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance?
Yes, I met Dr. Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri from the University of Cambridge. We discussed about the potential collaboration on using one of their mouse models to complement the human research that we conduct on the relationship between pregnancy complications and subsequent vascular diseases.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?
That the placenta is not just an organ vital for the success of a pregnancy but that it may have implications for lifelong health.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?
I found Professor Kent Thornburg’s presentation on “The Placenta is the Culprit in Programming Chronic Disease” very interesting. This talk not only gave insight on the role of the placenta in programming vulnerability to later onset disease but also provided mechanistic knowledge on how the placenta mediates this risk.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?
This was the first opportunity that I got in giving an invited talk at an international conference.

Would you recommend this experience to your friends/colleagues and why?
Yes, I would recommend this conference to my colleagues, particularly those interested in pursuing research in placentation and pregnancy complications.

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