AJ Banks Travel Bursary Recipient, Ditte Hobbs, reports from Boston, USA

14 May 2015

Ditte Hobbs was awarded an AJ Banks Travel Bursary in 2014. Here, she reports on her attendance at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, USA, 27 March - 1 April 2015.

‘I am a Research Fellow working in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading. I am extremely grateful to SCI for awarding me an AJ Banks Travel Bursary to attend the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston, in the United States of America, which gave me the opportunity to present my research to a large international multidisciplinary audience from world leading institutions.

‘Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. This year it was held at Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre in Boston, USA, from 27 March to 1 April 2015. The meeting brought together scientists from six disciplines and from world leading institutions. This multidisciplinary, scientific meeting featured plenary and award lectures, pre-meeting workshops, oral and poster sessions, on-site career services and exhibits of an array of equipment, including supplies for research labs and experimental study. The presentations encompassed a broad range of disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, nutrition, and pharmacology, highlighting the multidisciplinary nature of the conference.

‘The meeting was attended by approximately 14,000 scientists from around the world and was by far the biggest conference I have ever attended. The talks were held in various rooms on three different floors, with many parallel sessions occurring throughout the day. I therefore had to plan my day very well to make sure I was able to make all the talks that were interesting and relevant to my research. The multidisciplinary nature of the conference also meant that I was able to attend talks that were not exactly in my research area and I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend. On the whole, this led to a very productive conference experience.

‘My research is focussed on determining the role of dairy products in the UK diet and to establish a mathematical model which will predict the nutritional contribution, environmental and financial impacts of different diets containing dairy. The first stage of this research was to determine the types of dietary patterns high and low dairy consumers follow. This was the work I presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting and my poster was entitled ‘Identifying dietary patterns associated with dairy consumption in British children’. The poster exhibitions were running all day and each presenter was given a two-hour slot to stand by their poster, talk about their research and answer any questions. Generally the poster sessions were bustling with people, which made it an excellent environment for me to showcase my research. My poster was well received and I had many interesting conversations with researchers from academia and industry. During my poster presentation I also met two researchers from a leading dairy company, and our discussions during the meeting in Boston have led to a future research collaboration, which I am very excited about.

‘I also attended an early career research scientist networking event that was organised by the American Society for Nutrition. It was an enjoyable evening attended by around 100 early career researchers as well as representatives from nutrition societies from all around the world. During this event I met a number of other early career researchers and it was interesting to hear about their research projects, experiences and future career plans.

‘Overall, the Experimental Biology conference was an excellent meeting filled with many exceptional speakers and thought-provoking research. This meeting was a great opportunity for me to showcase my current research for the first time at a large international multidisciplinary conference and establish new research collaborations.

‘I would like to thank SCI and the AJ Banks Trust for the financial contribution which allowed me to attend this meeting.’

Dr Ditte Hobbs,
Research Fellow, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading

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