International Symposium of
Staphylococci and Staphylococcal Infection

32 years ago scientist from all over
the world started to meet biannually to present discuss progress in Staphylococcal
research. This year the 16th symposium took place in Chicago, hosted
by the University of Chicago. During the last three decades public interest in
this field grew, in particular through the increased development of antibiotic
resistance in Staphylococcus aureus
and epidermis, and more than 300 delegates
attended the conference. Through VacTrains support I was able to show my first
poster to a scientific audience there.

The 4 day program covered a range of
subjects including pathophysiology, “omics” (genomics, transcriptomics,
proteomics, metabolomics), regulation as well as therapeutic and prophylactic
interventions. Leading experts in their field gave an introduction in the
morning, followed by talks given by experienced researchers and junior
professors about cutting-edge results straight from the bench. Early-stage
researchers were then given the chance to present in the afternoon poster
sessions (more than 250 in just 4 days!).

“Vaccines against S. aureus disease” was the topic of
Thursday morning, emphasizing the importance of this preventive approach. Some
potential antigens as well as efficacy models were showcased and delegates from
industry gave an update on clinical trial outcomes of vaccines in their
pipelines.

In between presentations and talks,
one was given plenty of opportunities to network with experts from industry and
academia, talk to them over lunch, coffee or a gala dinner. Current issues and
challenges were discussed and I gained a lot of inspiration and ideas for my
own PhD project – which I could think about while discovering the vibrant metropolis
the following weekend.