G’day from
Australia!

Although
the life of a PhD student can involve long days in the lab and seemingly
endless hours in front of computers analyzing data, occasionally we are
afforded the opportunity and privilege to travel and see the world. So I was
overjoyed when I and two other vactrainees- Roberta and Eleni received the
opportunity to attend the 5th International Congenital CMV Conference and 15th
international CMV/Beta herpes virus workshop which was held in Brisbane,
Australia.

After a
long and tiring journey from London via Hong Kong I arrived in the city of
Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. Coming from Europe’s spring to the almost
tropical temperature of Brisbane was a little strange but I soon acclimatized
and fell in love with this beautiful modern city (although the fear of
poisonous snakes and spiders was never far from my mind).

The
conference did not disappoint! Taking place in Brisbane’s fantastic conference
centre on the south bank of the river, all our needs were catered for. It was
an amazing experience, a chance to present our research and talk face to face
with many experienced researchers in the field of CMV from different parts of
the world was very beneficial for our future carriers. I was very happy to
receive constructive feedback on my work from emeritus Prof Stanley Plotkin,
one of the leaders in the field of vaccinology and an inspirational scientist. Moreover,
the organizers prepared a variety of social events –so meeting, making friends
and sharing experiences with many other young researchers could not be any
easier.

Of course no trip to Australia would be complete
without seeing the amazing wild life that the country has to offer. So I was
very excited when on our last day we were taken on an exciting trip to an
animal sanctuary just outside Brisbane. Holding a koala in my arms and playing
with little kangaroos is an experience I will always remember.