Experiences of the BALR Summer Meeting: Richard Allen
In September I attended the BALR 2019 summer meeting held at Selwyn College in Cambridge and BALR kindly awarded me a £125 travel bursary to attend the conference. This was the first time I have attended the BALR summer meeting and I found the experience extremely valuable and interesting. The conference consisted of three days of talks, poster sessions and networking opportunities and allowed me to both present my work and learn about the latest research being conducted in the field. Whilst at the conference, I presented my work around a large scale genetic analysis into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). As much of my research and background is around statistical genetics, previously I have mainly attended genetics and epidemiology conferences where very few people have heard of IPF. By attending the BALR summer meeting I was able to present my research at a national conference to experts in lung research who were able to feedback and comment on my work. Presenting at BALR also allowed me to disseminate my research to those who are most interested. Over the couple of days after my talk I was able to discuss my work one on one with IPF specialists which I found an invaluable experience. During the conference there were many talks on the latest cutting edge research around lung diseases and I was able to learn a great deal around IPF and other traits. The talks covered a wide range of topics from lab based animal models to potential new clinical treatments. The poster sessions also allowed me to discuss current research projects in a less formal way. By attending the BALR summer meeting I was able to talk to researchers from across the UK. This has helped in building future collaborations and also allowed me to meet with current collaborators who work at other institutions, including some I had never met in person before. Overall I found the experience incredibly useful and plan to attend the BTS/BALR Joint Symposium in December.