ASP Conference and Research Trip to Cambridge

Jorin Diemer

Published January 2019


1. ASP conference

Visiting the ASP conference in Melbourne was a fantastic opportunity to get an understanding of the enormous variety of the parasitic research field. From the great number of talks given at the conference, especially the presentation of Adelaide Denis was of utmost importance for me, as she measured volume changes of Plasmodium infected erythrocytes, which is one of the global out- comes of my mathematical model on ion homeostasis. Aiming to repeat her experiments under different conditions, it was extremely helpful to get an intro- duction in the experimental set up.


Another very inspiring talk was given by Pascal Mäser. What fascinated most, was his way of presenting the work a former PhD student did during the last years. He highlighted how one experiment led to new ideas and sometimes falsified his presumption. Following this train of thought was way more entertaining than being confronted with just the most recent results, which happens quite often. An experience which let me fully realize the diversity of the research field was a chat with Leonie Barnett who monitored cercariae incidence on Nassarius dorsatus (a species of sea snails) in Central Queensland. This research is complete different from the molecular or mathematical approaches used within the IRTG2290, but shows how important monitoring of species (for example mosquito species) is for the real world application of the findings in labs all over the world.


The Early Carrier workshops were a nice opportunity to get an insight of working in industry and science communication with the public. Talking about pub- lic outreach, raised an issue which came back in discussion in Kioloa, namely that it is extremely challenging to make basic science interesting enough for newspapers, while being precise.


2. Research trip to Cambridge

Thanks to Kiaran Kirk I had the chance to visit Virgilio Lew, Teresa Tiffert and Steve Hladky in Cambridge. Virgilio Lew and Steve Hladky both worked on mathematical models, trying to describe ion homeostasis within the uninfected and infected erythrocyte. Talking with Virgilio Lew the focus lay on his description of the red blood cell, as the parasite is approximated by an predefined, growing volume. He explained how he derived the kinetic descriptions for the ion transporters he included in the model. Steve Hladky aimed to extend the model, such that the homeostasis of the parasite is included. He presented his work and highlighted the issues, in particular missing experimental data, he encountered during this process.


All together the trip to Cambridge was wonderful to meet two inspiring personalities. Additionally, it was exceptionally interesting to get a glimpse of studying at Cambridge.