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Experiences of ATS 2019: Sophia Antoniou

Dr Sophia Antoniou is a Clinical Research Fellow at Lungs for Living, UCL Respiratory, UCL London, and is in the 2nd year of her PhD. She received a BALR Travel award for the ATS Annual Meeting 2019 in Dallas. She presented a poster and gave a short oral presentation followed by a discussion of her research “Identifying an infrared spectral biomarker of lung cancer risk” in the RAPID poster discussion session “Novel Imaging for Lung Cancer: A Picture is worth a thousand words”. She has shared her experience of attending and presenting at the ATS.

"ATS 2019 was held in Dallas this year and I am incredibly grateful to the BALR for giving me a travel award that supported my attendance. It was an excellent opportunity for me and the first time I have presented my research, made further exciting as it was to an international audience. My research involves shining infrared (IR) light onto cheek cells that have been exfoliated from the mouth with a soft brush to identify differences between cells from patients with lung cancer and those without. It is looking to identify an early screening test for lung cancer. My research was received with interest by others with discussion around my methods and IR spectroscopy in general, which is less familiar to some. In both my dedicated session and other sessions around lung cancer screening and biomarker discovery I was able to network with other groups and discuss and share ideas, which I found useful. I was pleased with the feedback I received and look forward to developing my research.

In addition to the experience of presenting and sharing my work, I really enjoyed attending ATS. It was an excellent mix of clinical updates with the latest in guidelines as well as ongoing research from groups all over the world. It is always fascinating to hear about the variety of research that is being undertaken and that presented at the ATS was no exception. I have an interest in lung cancer and early diagnosis and enjoyed attending these sessions, and meeting with colleagues with similar interests. I also took the opportunities available to catch up with other areas of lung research. These included infective and inflammatory lung pathologies, experiencing some excellent symposia sessions as well as short oral presentations and posters on a range of subjects. This was my first attendance at ATS, but I was inspired at the energy and passion in the variety of different sessions with experts in their fields getting together to discuss and debate treatment and research.

Thank you BALR for supporting me in my trip. I would really recommend this conference. It caters for everyone, individuals with both clinical and research backgrounds, and is an interesting and inspiring conference to attend."

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