San Diego’s immunology conference takeover

By Jessica Alvarez

San Diego’s immunology conference takeover

By Jessica Alvarez
Graduate Student Travel Scholarship recipient Katelyn O’Neill traveled to San Diego, California for the American Association of Immunologists Conference. There she presented for the first time as a graduate student and networked with a research team she admires greatly.

Katelyn O’Neill’s first visit to San Diego, California would be one she would never forget. As a recipient of a Graduate Student Travel Scholarship, Katelyn, who is a microbiology and immunology doctoral student, was able to participate in the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Conference. Not only was this the first conference she would attend, but it also was her first time presenting a poster of her research. Katelyn’s research study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine focuses on the float:right;role of the antibacterial protein Perforin-2 in killing intracellular bacteria and contributing to wound healing.

Katelyn recalls how conferences can provide an unexpected opportunity to meet individuals you may otherwise not. “Conferences within one’s field are quite the experience, as you are able to surround yourself, not only with the current discoveries, but also with people who share the similar passion,” she says. One of the biggest highlights of her experience was meeting members of the Havran Lab, a lab out of The Scripps Research Institute in California that Katelyn respects greatly. “It was an honor finding those at the event who are part of the lab, as they are the lab I model my protocols after,” she emphasizes. Through her attendance at networking and panel events, Katelyn gained new insight into what her future may hold. 

Katelyn goes on to say, “I am at a point in my studies, where I have to think about what I would like to do, where I would like to work.” She states how helpful this conference was in giving her the ability to speak to both academics and industry leaders and begin thinking about what career path may be best for her. It is clear to see the positive impact this travel award and conference had on Katelyn. She hopes to attend again next year as a more advanced researcher and continue her professional development.

The next deadline for the Graduate Student Travel Scholarship is November 15, 2019. To learn more about the scholarship and apply, click here.