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Experiences of BTS Winter Meeting 2019: Ben Pippard

I am extremely grateful to the British Association for Lung Research for helping me attend the 2019 British Thoracic Society (BTS) Winter Meeting in London.

The annual BTS conference is the largest respiratory meeting in the UK, attracting clinicians and scientists working across the full spectrum of lung disease. I was fortunate to be able to present some of the work that I have been conducting as part of my PhD at Newcastle University, involving the development of novel methods for assessing lung function using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is a nascent area of lung research, and my oral presentation offered an invaluable opportunity to share my work with a wide audience of clinician-scientists, including experts in the field.

In my talk, I outlined some recent data concerning the reproducibility of a new approach to pulmonary ventilation imaging involving 19F-MRI of an inhaled gas, known as perfluoropropane. This is based on work conducted as part of a collaborative project between Newcastle and Sheffield Universities (‘LIFT’: Lung magnetic resonance Imaging with Fluorocarbon Tracer gases), which is the first UK study to investigate the utility of this particular technique. We hope to develop this approach further as a viable means of assessing lung disease, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), without the requirement for ionising radiation. Presenting this work at the BTS was an important first step in conveying our findings to the wider respiratory community and I was grateful for the positive interest shown, particularly from the session chairs, which included one of the world-leading experts in the field of lung MRI.

I gained much from talking to, and hearing from, others about the challenges and insights relating to lung MRI research; as an early-career researcher and final year PhD student, having the opportunity to question and discuss my own and others work is an invaluable experience. In addition, the conference allowed me to explore wider aspects of respiratory medicine, including updates on pleural disease, COPD and interstitial lung disease (ILD), which are all areas of clinical interest. The meeting provided a fantastic arena to interact with colleagues, including other early-career researchers, and to learn about their current and future research goals - all serving to highlight the tremendous scope of the specialty and its ever-growing research potential. The wealth of educational opportunity was enormous, and I would like to thank the BALR for their support in enabling me to attend this important and enjoyable conference.

Dr Ben Pippard - Clinical Research Associate, University of Newcastle, UK

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