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Travel Story: Dr Nigel Farrow

NigelFarrowDr Nigel Farrow from the Robinson Research Institute’s Cystic Fibrosis Research group attended the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, in October.

Nigel presented on his research Cystic Fibrosis Mouse Models Display Age Dependent  Airway Stem/Progenitor Cell Hyperplasia.

This is what Nigel had to say about his experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?
There were a couple of highlights at the conference, getting a lot of interest in my poster presentation which led to meeting some great researchers and making good research contacts for the future as well as giving me a lot of confidence in my abilities as an early career researcher. Meeting with Eric Alton who is a leader, if not the leader, in my chosen research field who gave me a lot of time to discuss research related matters and advice and guidance for the road ahead as a researcher in the field of gene therapy for CF. We also established a path for a future collaboration and I have been invited to visit the UK CF gene therapy research centre at Imperial College to present a seminar and meet more of the research team over there. Attending some great talks and symposiums outlining the most current research in my field.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? – Please provide details:
Eric Alton a CF researcher in the field of gene therapy. Eric is the head of the UK CF gene therapy consortium based at Imperial college in London and is a leading scientist in this field.
Deborah Gill a CF researcher in the field of gene therapy. Deborah is a leading scientist with the UK CF gene therapy consortium based at Oxford college in Oxford, UK.
University of North Carolina : I spent 2 days meeting with researchers at the CF research centre in Chapel Hill.
Scott Randall, A researcher in the fields of CF and respiratory airway stem cells. Scott is a leader in the specific field that a lot of my research is based on.
Rob Tarran, A highly successful CF researcher studying molecular pathways that regulate pathways associated with the protein that is responsible for CF.
James Yankaskas, Professor of Medicine at UNC, where he is Associate Chair of the Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine Division, and Medical Director of the Medical ICU and the Medical Progressive Care Unit. James is a world renowned leader in the field of pulmonary medicine.
Carla Ribeiro, A leading researcher in the field of mucus secretory cells and the pathways that regulate the production of mucus in the airways.
Cedars-Sinai Hospital Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. I spent 2 days meeting with researchers in the airway stem cell department
Barry Stripp, A highly successful and leading researcher in the field of airway stem cells.
Jonathan McQualter, A successful researcher in airway stem cells, formerly of Melbourne University and we have collaborated in the past on projects.

Did you visit any labs or research facilities? – How was this useful to your work?
Yes I visited research facilities at the University of North Carolina and Cedars-Sinai Hospital . I was able to meet, discuss and learn new techniques from leaders in my research field and establish new collaborations.

How has the experience supported you and your research?
I made numerous contacts including some of the most well respected veterans of my chosen research field who have all invited me to keep in touch and contact them at any time to further discuss research. Also, there is potential for future collaborations.

Two collaborations have come out of this trip which will help push our goal to understand and cure CF related airway disease.

The presentations on the latest research have allowed me to get the most up to date findings from current research streams.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?
Discussions with Eric Alton, the head of the UK CF gene therapy consortium, that has recently gone through a gene therapy clinical trial, allowed me to get a firm grasp of the work that is needed to get our research from the bench to clinical trials.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?
Having so much interest in my research from some of the world’s leading and most highly respected leaders in CF research which led me to realising just how far I have come during my PHD studies and now as a post doc I am in a very good position to cement my place in my chosen academic field.

Would you recommend this experience to your friends/colleagues and why?
Yes, I would recommend this experience as it allows for getting our research from Adelaide to be presented and discussed on the world stage, in a manner that allows feedback and discussion that you don’t get in the journal publication arena. It also allows for making vital contacts that will enhance future research studies.

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