Travels with my grant

29 April 2017 - By: Raquel Da Sousa

Travels with my grant - Raquel Da Sousa

Raquel Da Sousa

Grant recipient: Raquel Da Sousa (Newcastle University, UK)

Travelled to: XXV International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, USA


ICE is the largest conference of Entomology worldwide, organised by the Entomological Society of America every four years. This year it was held under the topic Entomology without Borders in the stunning venue of the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando. Two adjectives immediately cross my mind when asked to briefly describe this congress: massive and overwhelming. Across five consecutive days, delegates were exposed to such a number of speakers, different insect models and insect research topics ranging from insect pest management to bioinformatics and comparative genomics (up to 30 sections). 

Among the 5396 presentations, my key sessions of interest were ‘Insect chemical ecology’, ‘Immunity’, ‘Neurobiology’, ‘Physiology’ and ‘Molecular basis for insect learning and behaviour’. I also attended two sessions covering new insights into a menu revolution in which insects could be used as a reliable protein food source for humans: and others on how to take good quality macro photos of insects in/outdoors. 

I was selected to present part of my PhD work under the title ‘A pinch of salt for honey bees (Apis mellifera)?’ at the Graduate Student Oral Presentation Competition – Physiology and Biochemistry: Physiology Session. I had a decent number of people attending my featured session and enjoyed the comments and feedback. It was good to see what other people are currently doing in my field or model organism, the honey bee. However, attending talks on other insect models, such as ants and even stingless bees (non native to Europe), was great as it opened me to new opportunities to explore my research questions. Also, you get a better idea about who is doing this or that type of research. ICE 2016 also provides a good interface to share your CV, to meet people currently hiring, or even to leave your job proposal if you are a lab with open positions. 

I established a good network with several other postgrad students (Europe- USA- and Australia-based), swapped business cards (for the first time!) and, to name a few, had the chance to speak to leaders in the field, including Prof. Julie Mustard (UTRGV, USA), who studies the effects of natural toxic compounds on the underlying molecular mechanisms of honey bee behaviour and learning, Dr Natalie Hempel de Ibarra (Exeter, UK), who also studies learning and memory in bees, and Prof. Marla Spivak (Minnesota, USA), whose lab is currently exploring the beneficial effects of propolis (a resin-derived product) on honey bee immunity and health. I would like to express my gratitude to The Company of Biologists and SEB for supporting my attendance to this overseas congress with this travel grant.

See how you can apply for a SEB travel grant here



Category: grants