Travel grants to go - Juan Carlos De La Concepcion

29 April 2018 - By: Juan Carlos De La Concepcion

Travel grants to go - Juan Carlos De La Concepcion

Juan Carlos de Concepcion

By Juan Carlos De La Concepcion, John Innes Centre/ University of East Anglia

Juan attended the 5th International Conference on Biotic Plant Interaction in Xiamen, China where he presented his research on “Natural variation in a rice immune receptor interface extends response to pathogen effectors”.

The 5th International Conference on Biotic Plant Interactions (5th ICBPI) in Xiamen attracted a huge number of delegates from all over the world, working on a broad range of pathogens infecting several plant species. This meant that there was a great breadth of different topics and so it was possible to learn about many different aspects of plant-microbe interactions. Not only were there were many different plenary speakers, but there was a large number of concurrent sessions, ordered by the types of pathogen, allowing me to choose the most relevant for my project.

This conference showcased the very latest developments in my field, including many that are not yet published. I found many of the talks really inspiring for my work; some of them presenting new paradigms and ground-breaking discoveries. I was also exposed to research carried out in many different pathosystems, which allowed me to uncover many different approaches and techniques that I could apply to my own work. I got many new ideas of areas to explore and new experimental techniques to try in order to answer the questions I am pursuing. Moreover, this conference gave me the broad overview of the big biological questions in plant pathology today. This will undoubtedly have a decisive impact on the direction of my future career, both in my PhD and beyond.

Attending this meeting was invaluable for building my scientific career, providing me with contacts and the opportunity to network with international colleagues; especially those from eastern countries who are often not able to attend to EU/US meetings. I had the opportunity to share my research with this wide community in a poster format, meet some of the leaders in the field of Plant-Pathogen interactions and discuss my results with them. Given that my research focuses on the rice blast pathogen, the connections I made with Asian scientists focused on rice pathology are exceptionally useful.
The conference also had a great social program and I had the opportunity to enjoy many of the local customs and cuisine. The food was a particular highlight and I especially liked the seafood of Xiamen. The conference organisers made a special effort for us to experience Chinese culture, including organising a traditional dance, which was very impressive.

As this was my first trip to Asia it really enabled me to expand my horizons. This trip definitely helped me grow as a scientist and as a person.
Category: Plant Biology