As a part of the Jeffress grant that is supporting Kristen’s salary for her post-baccalaureate research for the year, we had funding for her to attend a scientific research. I was excited for her to come with Maddie and me to ENDO in Chicago because of the clinical aspects of the conference. Since she is headed off to medical school in the fall (I’m trying to avoid thinking about not having her full-time in the lab anymore…), I figured many of the talks would be appealing to her. So without further introduction, here are Kristen’s thoughts on the conference:
As a soon-to-be medical student I was eager to experience the clinical aspects of this year’s Endocrine Society meeting, as other conferences I have previously attended were primarily focused on basic research. I was particularly excited by a set of talks that centered on the idea of simulating organ or organ system functions on an artificial scaffold. For example, Teresa Woodruff of Northwestern University has developed EVATAR: a microfluidic system of mini 3D organ models made from human cells. With this system she is able to connect liver cells to those of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix in order to observe tissue function in the presence of certain hormones, as well as to conduct drug toxicology studies. The other two talks in this series (Peter Loskill & Jonathan Himmelfard) also stressed the implications of this technology on pharmaceutical drug screening.
Beyond all the fascinating talks, however, I was most excited by the fairly tightknit community of clinicians and scientists that were in attendance. This conference made me even more eager to begin my career in medicine and to attend more similar events in the future that are even more catered to my interests.