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Travel Story: Holly Groome

Holly Groome from the Robinson Research Institute travelled to Cambridge, UK to attend a Lab Visit with Dr Amanda Sferuzzi-Perri’s team and also to Paris, France to attend the Society for Reproductive Investigation conference where she presented on “Macrophage regulation of decidual vascular remodelling is crucial for pregnancy success in mice”.

This is what Holly had to say about her experience.

What was a highlight of the travel?

Having a multitude of researchers being interested in the project and asking many questions about the project and my own interests/intentions for my career post-PhD.

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

I visited the Reproductive Physiology Department at Cambridge University. This visit was scheduled by Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri where she provided a full day of meetings with some of Cambridge’s most successful researchers to discuss my projects with them and have them discuss their own work with me. Following this morning of meetings, I was invited to present to the whole department which generated further interest in the project and allowed me to engage with other speakers, Tu’uhevaha Kaitu’u Lino, PhD and Natalie Hannan, PhD, who also presented research. This experience was valuable to my career and PhD as it allowed me to be exposed to other research areas and be engaged with researchers from various areas who suggested various aspects to consider in my project. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to network with other people involved in the department and whether this would be suited to me for career options after my PhD.

The Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI) Annual Meeting was my first international conference where I was given the opportunity to present my PhD research via a poster. This conference brought together some of the world’s best reproductive scientists in a comfortable environment that optimised both presentation of research and interaction time during poster sessions. The five-day conference was very successful and allowed me to disseminate my research findings to a broad audience with plenty of interest generated.

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

I was fortunate to meet some very well-established researchers and lab heads during my time overseas. All these meetings provided a great deal of significance to me as each one of these people provide interest into the project and provide suggestions and insightful conversation and discussion into the complex issues surrounding both my project and their own projects. In particular, Miguel Constancia made an effort to meet up with me at the conference and scheduled a time to meet me to discuss macrophages in pregnancy and placentation. I continued to build strong rapport with Tu’uhe and Nat from Melbourne University, engaging with them both and Cambridge and the conference. I feel very privileged to meet these wonderful researchers and have them donate their time to listening to me and engaging with me in discussions.

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

This experience has enabled me to further solidify my career goals going forward and the research areas I’m passionate about. Furthermore, I have been able to interact with many international researchers to gain a broad understand of career options available after my PhD and why particular people chose their career paths and how that aligns with my goals and interests moving forward.

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

I was very excited by all the wonderful new techniques international laboratories are using to investigation complex problems. For example, Mass-CYTOF and “implantation-on-a-chip”. I feel that these new techniques are at the fore-front of reproductive investigation and would benefit the institute to investigate the feasibility of getting these techniques established.

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

It was very humbling and interesting to be sat next to Thomas Jansson, MD, PhD from the University of Colorado at a meet-the-speaker luncheon as part of SRI. Dr. Jansson is a very well established research who took on a career change from being a clinician to being a researcher. It was insightful to hear the pros and cons of both lifestyles and understand which lifestyle is better suited to my interests. I was humbled to have told Dr. Jansson about my research and excited to see that he fully engaged with me and was interested in the project.

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