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Travel Story: Qianhui Wan

Qianhui Wan from the Robinson Research Institute travelled to Lorne, Victoria in February to attend The 40th Annual Lorne Genome Conference and workshops . Qianhui’s presentation was on “Changes in placental DNA methylation across early human pregnancy” and this is what she had to say about her experience.

What was a highlight of the travel?

Meeting many PhD students from many other different institutes across Australia.

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

The 40th Annual Lorne Genome Conference was held in Cumberland Lorne Resort for 3 days. We had international and national researchers representing different themes of genomic research including chromosome structure, gene regulation, disease genomics, evolution genetics, epigenetics and noncoding RNA and RNA regulation. Apart from oral presentations, the poster sessions were at the evening of the first and second day of the conference. I had many highly valuable discussions with presenters about genomic research especially when I was presenting my poster, I received many great comments on my own PhD work and ideas for future work. In addition, there were 2 workshops on the second day of this conference, the first workshop was focused on long read sequencing for single cell using Nanopore sequencing technique and in the second workshop Traude Beilharz talked about how to get a manuscript published, and Sarah Florence talked about her experience of facing the challenges in life. All the talks in this conference were very interesting and closely associated with my project.

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

David Tremethick from Australian National University talked about linking chromatin structure with its role in controlling the differentiation process by studying histone variants. Since my work mainly focus on epigenetics, his talk has further extended my thinking and understanding about histone modification and DNA methylation. I also had discussions with other researchers including Quentin Gouil (La Trobe University) who presented his work on genome imprinting, Qian Du (Garvan Institute of Medical Research) who studied epigenetics in cancer cells and Ozren Bogdanovic (Garvan Institute of Medical Research) who talked about the functions of DNA methylation during embryogenesis, which was quite amazing and inspired new ideas relevant to my work.

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

Except for meeting many students and junior postdoctoral researchers at this conference, I also had the chance to introduce myself to some established researchers. This conference has provided a great opportunity for me to build networks with researchers around the world. Seeing the variety of projects and the different methods used in genomic research will be invaluable going forward when tackling new biological questions and projects.

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

Christopher Mason from Cornell University presented results from multi-omics studies for NASA astronauts, which help establish the molecular foundations and genetic defences for enabling long-term human space travel.

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

I am very grateful that my supervisor, Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto, advertised my poster during her oral presentation in this conference, so I had more comments from other researchers for my work. I will definitely remember to advertise my students during my career in the future.

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