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Experiences of BTS Winter 2018: Marieke Wandel

Marieke Wandel is a PhD Student at the University of Southampton, and a BALR Travel Award winner for the BTS Winter Meeting 2018. She gave an oral presentation her abstract "S28: Adam33 knock-out is protective against post-natal airway hyperresponsiveness caused by maternal allergy" on Wednesday 5th December 2018 in the session "Mucosal and Microbial Drivers of Asthma" and she has kindly shared her experience of the BTS with us.

"I was very excited to attend the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting in London this year with the help of a BALR travel bursary.

Unfortunately, I could only attend for the day of my presentation, as a final year PhD student the pressure to get as many experiments done as possible is definitely on!

Obviously, I was very nervous to present my work to peers from all over the country, especially since English is not my first language. It all went well though, and I got through the presentation without any struggles. The questions and discussion gave me some new ideas to implement into my work for the last few months that I will be in the lab.

Once that hurdle was overcome, I could relax a little more and enjoy the conference. It was so great to see what people from different universities with different backgrounds are working on, not only in my field of expertise, but also in other fields. Hearing about current progress, even if not directly related to my project, certainly was very interesting. It helps to keep an open mind!

In the lunch break, my supervisor took the opportunity to introduce a postdoc in our group and myself to colleagues of his. After having had some email exchange already, putting a face to the name was nice. We discussed a potential collaboration and the transfer of samples after the Christmas break, something our group is very excited about.

It sure was a successful day of learning and networking, and I am sure I will greatly benefit from it in my future research and career!"

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