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Gordon Research Extracellular Vesicles Conference: Viral Oza

I recently attended a Gordon Research Seminar and Conference on Extracellular Vesicles in Newry, Maine. In the Blackburn lab one focus of my project is based on how pediatric tumor neural stem cells communicate with each other. Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) caught my attention when I attended a research symposium on EVs at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. Hearing EV researchers at the symposium propelled me into looking at the role of EVs in the context of pediatric tumor cell communication. With a travel award to spend and scant preliminary data to show I applied to go to my first EV conference. I learned a tremendous amount of new information, met several researchers who attended the Markey Cancer Center symposium on zoom and made connections with several graduate students, postdocs, and research professors. The seminar was for graduate students and postdocs only which provided a very supportive environment for questions and discussion. Once the conference started, my roommate for the conference was a professor who runs a research group in South Korea who was also attending his first EV conference so we had a lot to talk about! The conference was filled with talks on evolutionary biology, molecular biology and imaging techniques, as well as EV related drug therapies. There was some free time to mingle and get some Maine hiking in which was a nice break from the research heavy talks. Overall, I’m really grateful to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program for giving me a travel award so that I could attend this conference and to several researchers who I was able to meet and learn from. I have returned with plenty of hypotheses to test!

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