I just got back from my very first Congress on Gastrointestinal Function, a small meeting for researchers with a specific focus on the gastrointestinal tract, which is held every two years in Chicago, Illinois. The special session this year was on “Early Acquisition and Development of the Gut Microbiota: A Comparative Analysis”. The rest of the sessions opened up the broader topics of gut ecosystem surveillance and modulation, as well as new techniques and products with which to study the effect of microorganisms on hosts and vice versa. The research had a strong livestock animal focus, as well as a human health focus, but we also heard about a few studies using wild animals.
As I’ve previously discussed, conferences are a great way to interact with other scientists. Not only can you learn from similar work, but you can often gain insights into new ways to solve research problems inherent to your system by looking at what people in different fields are trying, something that you might otherwise miss just by combing relevant literature online. A meeting or workshop is also a great place to meet other similarly focused scientists to set up collaborators that span academia, government, non-profit, and industry sectors.
This year, I was excited for one of my abstracts to be accepted as a poster presentation, and honored to have the other upgraded from poster to talk! Stay tuned for details about both of those projects in the coming weeks, and be sure to check this meeting out in April, 2019.