Nadira - Attending a congress then a conference

November 2016.

What does it take to improve medicine and healthcare in the future? I had the great opportunity three months ago in November at the Biosensors and Bioelectronics Congress, to find out.

I have to admit that I found the whole congress experience astounding – it is such a privilege for me to be able to attend. The conference was held in Kensington Close Hotel, London with presenters, delegates and attendees from all over the world, but mainly from the UK and Europe. My PhD research supervisor, Dr. Stewart Smith was also one of the presenters presenting the IMPACT (implantable microsystems for personalised anti-cancer therapy) project. We had the chance to engage with experts within the industry to help us discover the key approaches we can use in our research through networking breaks over sumptuous foods, tea and coffee.

I was most impressed by Professor Gerhard M. Artmann’s presentation on the second day of the congress. He was speaking about the technology of high throughput hIPS cell based mechanical cell tension sensing. It is a scientific proposition for a new toxicology test where an automated high throughput cell tension measurement can be performed. This setup involves measuring 384 cell culture wells (4 CellDrum x 96 wells) in a single step and it is likely to perform 2-D and 3-D cells culturing in the invented CellDrum! Thanks Professor Artmann for the context he provided to help me comprehend the possibilities!

December 2016.

I was very fortunate to have the chance to head home to Malaysia recently in December to present at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE-EMBS) conference on Biomedical, Engineering and Sciences. Even though I have travelled home a number of times within these few years, but, the feeling of being at the airport and queuing at the departure gate for boarding was most exciting! Upon arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport where I had my 2-hour layover, I knew I was half way home!

The conference was held a day after my arrival. It was divided into several smaller sessions based on the topics and I was so excited to listen to the one on biomedical imaging that I went into the wrong conference room! I was positive that it was the correct venue as stated in the programme book but when I made my way to the front seat, I realised I was in the EMB Chapter Chair Meeting! How embarrassing that was! But I acted cool, as if nothing happened and ended up being in the group photo – glad I stayed throughout the meeting.

I had my presentation on the second day, first thing in the morning. I love being first to present so I do not have to worry about it later! In the Q&A session at the end of my presentation, there was a PhD student from Adelaide who was very interested in my research. We had a discussion shortly after the session and it turned out that we have similar research topics!

Attending conferences is a great way to learn and sharpen your skills. You get to meet experts face to face, form new networks, break out of your comfort zone, learn new tips and techniques, and invest in your own growth!

 With my research supervisor and colleagues at the Biosensors and Bioelectronics Congress
With my research supervisor and colleagues at the Biosensors and Bioelectronics Congress
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE-EMBS) conference - Photography credits go to @zulkiflimahmoodin (Instagram)
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE-EMBS) conference - Photography credits go to @zulkiflimahmoodin (Instagram)