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Monica Nafria 1st Prize
Monica Nafria with her 1st prize certificate

Monica Nafria, a PhD student in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, has been awarded 1st prize for best oral presentation at the International Society for Experimental Haematology (ISEH) annual meeting held in Brisbane, Australia.

What was the event that you attended?

The ISEH aims to disseminate pre-clinical data basic research discoveries about developmental haematopoiesis as well as haematologic and immunologic disorders. Members of the society have access to a monthly journal of Experimental Haematology as well as training programs and discussion forums.

The ISEH annual scientific meeting gathers over 500 delegates in a four-day programme showcasing the latest research from around the world, from basic research to the latest therapeutic advantages in the field. The meeting also includes networking events and workshops and career development sessions for new investigators and senior scientists, such as the New Investigator Pre-meeting Workshop.

What is your research area?

I am a Universitas 21-awarded PhD student based at the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne. My PhD research focuses on the study of the earliest molecular mechanisms occurring in t(8;21) acute myeloid leukaemia, a type of blood cancer, through disease modelling in an in vitro system of blood differentiation.

This work is a collaborative project between the laboratory of Professor Constanze Bonifer, as part of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences (Birmingham), which is are well known for its genome-wide studies in gene regulation and epigenetic reprogramming during haematopoiesis and leukaemia, and the laboratory of Professor Andrew Elefanty at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Melbourne), who is a world leader in blood cell differentiation from human embryonic stem (ES) cells.

My work has also been funded by Cancer Research UK and Australia's Children’s Cancer Foundation grants.

How did you manage to attend the meeting?

My abstract was selected for a poster presentation and for an oral presentation during the New Investigator Pre-meeting Workshop at the ISEH 48th annual scientific meeting,. I was awarded two travelling grants: an ISEH travel grant and the Henry and Rachael Ackman Travelling Scholarship (University of Melbourne). These generous awards allowed me to attend the meeting and cover all the accommodation expenses.

What did you hope to achieve by going to the meeting?

By attending the meeting, I hoped to present my current research to fellow scientists of the field as well as learn all the recent advances and new research finding happening around the world. Moreover, I was looking forward to getting some additional feedback on my research, as I am currently finishing my PhD and publishing a paper of my work. Lastly, I believed this meeting would be the perfect platform to network with other new investigators as well as senior researchers, hopefully providing me with new collaborative opportunities.

What success did you achieve whilst you were there?

I was awarded the 1st prize for the best oral presentation during the pre-meeting workshop. As an awardee, I was invited to give my talk at a plenary session on the last day of the meeting. This was an experience for me, as it was my first time speaking to such a big and expert audience in the haematology field. Moreover, I met other fellow investigators and senior researchers during the poster session and networking events.