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Advances in Plant Virology Conference, Birmingham, UK 31st March – 2nd April 2015
Attending the Advances in Virology Conference with a travel grant from British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) was a great opportunity for me to have great insights into work that is being done in research on viruses and mechanisms that can be employed in the control of virus infections in plants and generate disease resistant plants. Talks mainly centred on understanding plant pathogen interactions between viruses and the hosts that they infect and how the relationships between the virus and the host subsequently determine if the plant is susceptible or resistant to the virus infection.
The gist of the conference is that it was organised in collaboration with the Society for General Microbiology 2015 annual general meeting and the sessions gave me the opportunity to attend a talk of the renowned scientist David Baulcombe who gave a talk on ‘The small RNA link in antiviral defence’. David Baulcombe is the 2015 Society Prize medal winner. He discussed how RNA silencing was discovered and also discussed epigenetics and how epigenetic plants can be passed on to different generations of progeny plants.
More presentations centred on the best ways for breeding for plant resistance against viruses. Discussions were on identifying conserved proteins or regions in viruses as targets for plant resistance as this would allow the development of plants that can be resistant to a broad spectrum of different strains of viruses.
In addition, there was an opportunity to have an audience with David Baulcombe who shared a personal experience on how to grow into a scientist in the current era and the challenges between being a scientist and developing a career in science. As a young upcoming scientist, I was inspired by this audience. Being a PhD student in my final year of study, I got a lot of insights on how I can plan my work and experiments in order to achieve results of the hypothesis that I set out to test.
Finally, on a very good note, I competed and won the student best poster award (Raymond/Roger Hull prize), the prize was the fifth edition of the Plant Virology text book written by Roger Hull. This book will help me so much as I prepare to write my final thesis.
I am really grateful for this opportunity to have received funding from the BSPP to attend and participate at the Advances in Plant Virology workshop.
Sarah Nanyiti University of Bristol