What cell type would I be?

By… Sophie / from the United Kingdom / studies PhD Tissue Repair / 4th Year

Conferences are a key part of research, where scientists of all levels get the chance to present their data either through posters, presentations or just chatting informally. This month I volunteered to help out at “EuroGlia” in Edinburgh. This was the 13th annual European meeting on Glial cells in Health and Disease and it covered of-the-moment research linked to these non-neuronal types of cells.

It was a fairly intense couple of days, during which I sported my natty EuroGlia polo shirt to dash up and down the seminar rows with a microphone to questioners. While it was tempting to go only to the talks that I felt were relevant directly to my project, being a volunteer actually encouraged me to attend sessions that ended up being some of the most interesting. It was because they were so different, rather than in spite of it, that they often stuck in my mind.

SQ1

Even though the focus was on glia, the range of areas covered was immense. All of these different researchers coming together from distinct but related areas of neuroscience are building a collection of information that will eventually map out how all these different cell types interact. With all this talk about astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, schwaan cells and microglia,) I started to think of the scientists as cells… (perhaps I was going a little stir-crazy being in the conference centre all day, every day but bear with me…). Each one is different, contributing a different pocket of research but together they form an intricate network of knowledge, much like a brain! Okay it’s a bit lame but it amused me.

I wondered what cell type I might be. Perhaps an endothelial cell in small vessel disease, the key focus of my research at the moment… it definitely has a function but we’re not totally sure what it is yet. Sounds about right!


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