April 11, 2020, by Lee Mei Kee

5th German Pharm-Tox Summit, 2-5 March 2020, Leipzig

Last year, I was awarded a travel prize by the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FOSE) in FOSE Research Showcase 2019. I presented my research findings at the 5th German Pharm-Tox Summit organised by the German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT). It is DGPT’s flagship annual event, showcasing research led by the pharmacology community across the world. Each year, universities in Germany will take turn to host this event. This year, I am very fortunate to attend the conference at University of Leipzig. It has attracted over 500 scientists to join the conference.

It was an eventful 4 days at the conference. Seminars, workshops, exhibitions, oral and poster presentations were arranged back to back, and some were going on at the same time. To get the most out of this conference, I have looked at the abstracts a week before. I took note of the posters and oral sessions I am interested in attending, then make a priority list to ensure that they do not coincide with each other.

Rows of poster presentation and exhibition from various scientific companies at the conference

A sunny week at University of Leipzig

All presentations were categorised either in pharmacology or toxicology. The research of a participant from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment caught my attention. His research was about using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model to study the toxicity of a mixture of azoles fungicides. This was particularly interesting as it was similar to my project, albeit the difference in the methods used. He compared the results obtained in C. elegans and in rats, and found that these two species displayed similar toxicity effects upon exposure to azole fungicides. We had a pleasant conversation, and I am very impressed at the sheer scale of work and resources that the German universities and industries have put into just one research project.

My presentation was on the last day and I was the first to present in the session. I felt confident as I have practiced a few times before I left for Germany. Even though it was nine in the morning, the classroom was full. The title of my presentation was ‘Investigating Calcium Channels Modulation of a Novel Phenylethylamine Compound in Caenorhabditis Elegans’.  I received a fair amount of questions and feedback which allow me to think critically the process starting from the experiment design to interpreting my data. Delivering my research in front of expert audience is indeed a good practice to prepare myself for thesis defence.

Presenting research findings in C. elegans

I have collected a lot of information and had learned a lot throughout these four days. It was a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience for having the invaluable chance to speak to companies, lecturers, and research students. I would like to give a warm thank you to my supervisors, Prof. Ting, Dr. Alice and Dr. Lim for their encouragement and guidance throughout my PhD journey. I am also grateful towards the FOSE for organising this competition. I would strongly encourage all FOSE postgraduate students to participate in this event in the future.


Article by: Mak Yin Ying (Yr 3 PG student)

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