Travel Story: Nigel Farrow

Dr Nigel Farrow from the Robinson Research Institute attended the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy Conference and visited the University of Houston, USA in May 2018.

Nigel presented his work, Epithelial disruption enables human airway stem cell transplantation in mouse nasal airways.

This is what Nigel had to say about his experience in the USA.

What was a highlight of the travel?

Getting a very positive response from some of the leading figures in my field to the stem cell transplantation data I presented.

Did you attend any workshops, labs, research facilities or attend any meetings associated with your travel?

I spent time in the Somatic Stem Cell Centre at the University of Houston. The time was spent in the lab observing demonstrations on how they grow stem cells and how they screen single stem cells from colonies to identify individual differences in the cells and how they respond to different compounds. Techniques they employ were immediately identified as having potential to cross over and assist in the study of adult stem cells in our lab. Meeting with the leader Frank McKeon and his lab members has opened the door to potential collaborations in the future.

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

While at the conference in Chicago I met with researchers in my field from both the UK and the USA:
Uta Greisenbch from Imperial College London, Stephen Hyde, Jack Tan and Debra Gill from Oxford University are all part of the UK cystic fibrosis gene therapy consortium and work on research in the same field as our lab. Meeting with these researchers allows us to discuss the outcomes we have all been getting and the directions the field is going and what is required to bring our mutual goals to the clinic.
Daniel Weiss from the University of Vermont. Professor Weiss is one of the leading researchers in the field of airway stem cells. I have been conducting research in this area and presented data at the conference on stem cell transplantation. Daniel and I met to discuss the study I presented and have made arrangements to have further contact and determine if we can collaborate on the future studies I have planned.

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

A potential collaboration with a leader in my field and at the very least a connection I can contact to further assist me in bringing the next stage of the research to fruition. Further contact with colleagues who were visiting from the UK resulted in an invitation to present a talk on my research at Oxford University the next time I am in London visiting family.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced whilst traveling?

The most exciting thing from the whole conference was seeing that the gene therapy field is once again moving in a positive direction at a very swift pace with some studies making into the clinic.

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

The most unexpected moment was getting such positive feedback and interest from leaders in the stem cell therapy field regarding the stem cell transplantation study I presented.


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