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5th – 7th September 2022
Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending the BSPP2022 presidential conference. As a 2nd year student, I was incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to attend and present at this conference. This provided me with the invaluable experience of presenting my work (pictured above) to a specialist audience.
My research primarily focuses on the cereal fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum. Multiple talks were given by inspiring speakers that did focus on F. graminearum and other Fusaria species. In line with the conference theme these did range from discussion of Fusarium sp. as pathogens, as endophytes or as a combination of the two. This provided me with a unique perspective of a fungus that I primarily study as a pathogen. Notably Paul Nicholson described Fusarium graminearum as ‘an endophyte gone wrong’, which I thought was a very apt and memorable description.
In addition to this I got to listen to talks about exciting topics that I do not have much expertise in. Notably talks on the role of microbial extracellular B glucans in plant microbe interactions and giant transposons that facilitate transfer of fungal effectors, were particularly relevant to my own research. During the poster session I was also able to discuss Erin Hill’s recently published work on extracellular vesicles of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici, which is relevant to my research as one of the Fusarium genes I am characterising is involved in endocytosis. Furthermore, I received a very engaging masterclass on using spatial distributions of plant infections to study epidemiology.
Finally, the lovely conference dinner and many tea breaks provided me with numerous opportunities to network with other researchers. I also got to speak to attendees who worked in plant pathology outside academia, which was very helpful in widening my view of potential career paths.
Overall, the conference was a very fruitful experience for my growth as a researcher and scientist. I am very grateful that the BSPP funded my attendance at this conference.