DNA Tumour Virus Meeting with the Journal of General Virology

Posted on September 12, 2019   by Joaquín Manzo

With support from the Journal of General Virology (JGV) Joaquín Manzo attended the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) DNA Tumour Virus Meeting. Joaquín was able to attend the event thanks through a young researchers' bursary. Here, he reports on his experience at the event.

© Joaquín Manzo Merino

During the past few years I´ve been heavily involved in the human papillomavirus (HPV) carcinogenesis field. As a young investigator, events like the ICGEB DNA Tumour Virus Meeting are wonderful opportunities and provide a launch pad for early career researchers.

The scientific talks at the meeting included several special lectures covering the main aspects of tumour viruses. As it was the meeting's 50th anniversary, Dr James M. Pipas from the University of Pittsburgh gave an outstanding talk on the molecular biological discoveries that were thanks to the results obtained from tumour virus research. This was an incredible journey through time over the past 50 years. Then Dr John Schiller from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), really put the cherry on top by giving a wonderful talk reflecting on upcoming challenges in tumour virology and highlighted the potential for future discoveries in translational medicine.

Other important talks included those presenting new animal models for the study of the carcinogenic and infectious processes in vivo. The lack of reliable animal models in tumour virology has been an uncovered issue in the field, thus the meeting really gave a wider perspective for future research models.

Many of the academic leaders in tumour virology attended the meeting, all of whom presented outstanding data from the different DNA viruses, including adenovirus, polyomavirus, human papillomavirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus. I had the opportunity to speak with many outstanding scientists and gained many useful insights during the poster presentations. The relaxed and productive environment meant it was a great opportunity to exchange contact details for future collaborations. Additionally, the meeting provided us with the opportunity to present our results and showcase the research we are currently doing in our countries.

I really enjoyed the coffee breaks – coffee is a researcher’s fuel – lunch and dinner, as these provided an integrative opportunity to interact with other attendees, not only for scientific issues but for social and personal experiences as well. Mentors were very keen to help, always giving advice and sharing experiences to help improve our results. It was also interesting that several advisors were searching for new PhD students and postdocs; I'm pretty sure more than one of us got the push they need to go forward with the next step in our careers.

I am very appreciative to the organisers, Dr Lawrence Banks and Dr Miranda Thomas for such an interesting and delightful meeting, For young researchers like me, this experience provides huge opportunities for collaboration. Many thanks to JGV for sponsoring my attendance at the meeting.