The David Miller Travel Bursary Award aims to give early career plant scientists or horticulturists the opportunity of overseas travel in connection with their horticultural careers. Juan Carlos De la Concepcion was awarded one of the 2018 David Miller Travel Bursaries to attend the International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP) 2018: Plant Health in A Global Economy held in Boston, US. Here he details his experience attending the international conference and the opportunities it provided.
‘My name is Juan Carlos De la Concepcion, I’m completing the third-year of my rotation PhD in Plant and Microbial Science at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. My work addresses how plant pathogens cause devastating diseases that affect food security worldwide and how plants can recognise them and organise an immune response to keep themselves healthy. Because of the tremendous damage that plant diseases cause in agricultural and horticulturally relevant species, this topic has become central to achieving the UN Zero Hunger challenge.
‘Thanks to the David Miller Award, I was able to participate in the International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP) 2018: Plant Health in A Global Economy held in Boston, US. This event is the major international conference in the plant pathology field and only occurs once every 5 years. This year, the conference gathered together over 2700 attendees, representing the broad international community of plant pathologist across the globe. In this conference, the leading experts in the different aspects of the field presented the latest advances and innovations. Setting a vision and future directions for tackling some of the most damaging plant diseases in the agriculture and horticulture industries, ensuring enough food productivity in a global economy. By attending this meeting, I had the opportunity to share my research with this wide community, as a talk in a concurrent session dedicated to my field of expertise: pathogen effectors. This allowed me to showcase and discuss my work with some of the experts in the field. As I enter the last year of my PhD, the opportunity to meet some of the world-leading scientists is undoubtedly very valuable for my future career.
‘As this event brought together a broad community of plant pathologists that do not gather very often at the same conferences. I could interact with scientists with very different expertise and learn new approaches to solve biological problems related to modern plant pathology. Also, at this meeting I could meet many colleagues working in the US, who are not always able to attend to conferences in the EU. Altogether, this conference was a unique opportunity to network and place my research in the wider context of plant pathology. Moreover, the vivid scientific discussions and the quality of the research presented at the meeting helped me to identify the future directions and goals for my scientific career. Although the number of attendees at the conference seemed overwhelming at first, this ensured a non-stop flow of learning, networking and lots of fun during the whole week.’
Juan Carlos De la Concepcion
PhD Student - Plant and Microbial Science
John Innes Centre