Travel Story: Dr David Sharkey

david.sharkeyDr David Sharkey from the Robinson Research Institute’s Reproductive Immunology Research Group attended the Inflammation in Reproduction, Pregnancy and Development (IRPD) symposium and the Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB) Annual Scientific Meeting in Queensland in August 2016.

David was invited to give talks on his research Interferon gamma is a potent inhibitor of TGFB-mediated signalling in ectocervical epithelial cells in vitro and Human seminal fluid signalling and fertility in women.

This is what David had to say about his experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?

While there were many highlights from being afforded the opportunity to attend both of these conferences, the opportunity to share some of our most recent research findings with my peers in a symposium lecture was something I felt very privileged to have done.

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

A highlight for me was the opportunity to speak with Professor Kenneth Beagley, from the University of Queensland about our mutual interest in examining the influence of sexually transmitted infection, specifically Chlamydia Trachomatis, on both male and female fertility. Together with Dr John Schjenken, we spoke about the possibility of establishing a collaborative project between the laboratories of Professors Beagley and Robertson to investigate this.

Did you attend any satellite or special interest group meetings associated with the conference?

Prior to the annual scientific meeting of the Society for Reproductive Biology, I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural IRPD conference in Cairns, which was held as a satellite symposium to the International Congress of Immunology, held in Melbourne. The scientific program for this meeting was exceptional, with a special focus on describing the mechanisms by which inflammation underpins normal physiological responses important for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy as well as pathologies of reproduction and pregnancy. Within the scientific program, there was also coverage of topics demonstrating how inflammation can also program the development of the embryo and fetus ultimately determining the future health of the infant, including early life origins of non-communicable diseases such as metabolic syndrome, allergy
and asthma, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders.

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

With very limited opportunities to travel in the previous 5 years, I am hopeful that the ability to renew existing friendships as well as establish new ones may help to strengthen my national reputation.

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

It is difficult to narrow it down to a single element, though I think overall, the most exciting thing for me was to see the high calibre of research being performed by our fellow reproductive biologists throughout Australia.

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

The most interesting moment for me was listening to the Robinson Research Institute’s own Research Leader Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson present the Society for Reproductive Biology Founder’s Lecture, where Jeremy eloquently described his distinguished research career to date.

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