Just coming out the #WSCS14 conference that was held in San Antonio this year. Oh boy, three days of intense scientific contents and networking, three days of running from one conference room to another and looking at the program to be sure to pick the most relevant one. Time to metabolize and put some thoughts on a blog.
This was a great meeting, especially for one that I just got introduced. Lots of good speakers, interactions with the exhibitors and with other presenters. It was a truly unique experience to get to know the San Antonio biomedical research area and strengths. It clearly seems to me that UTHSC San Antonio branch really try to built a strong research on stem cells research, including non-human primate based research. It was for me a particular chance to identify possible collaboration within the state of Texas.
The second aspect that i appreciate was the eclecticism of attendees at this meeting. Typically, you have conferences designed by scientists for scientists. Here I had the chance to discuss with scientists (sure it is a scientific meeting) but also with fundraising agencies, core facilities managers, patients and patients advocacy groups. And that is unique to have such patients advocacy groups that brings us back to what is our research is about: finding cures for patients because patients outside are suffering from their conditions and the medical advances are not reaching them. This is where as an outreach enthusiast I can grasp the need to scientists to reach out to the community and understand why their tax dollars means and how it get used.
Another session that i particularly appreciated was the “Ethics and Scientific Misconducts in Stem Cell Research” hosted by various speakers including “Retraction Watch” Ivan Oranovsky and Graham Parker, Stem Cell Development Chief-Editor. The stem research is a promising research field, a fantastic boat to sail on but because it has enormous potential and impact on medical research that can be easily hijacked by snake oil sellers (those claiming to have working stem cell therapies beyond the stage of clinical trials) and the forgery (remember the embryonic stem cell cloning fraud from South Korea in 2004)?
Here I am, waiting for my flight back to the Panhandle, now boosted more than ever to push on my research interests, developing new avenues of collaborations and hopefully developping the stemming stem cell research community in Texas.