Travel story: Dr Sonja Frolich

Dr Sonja Frolich from the Robinson Research Institute’s Ovarian and Reproductive Cancer Research Group attended the QMB Cancer Biology Meeting in New Zealand in August 2016.

Sonja was invited to give a talk on Development of automated high-content microscopy-assisted assays for telomere biology.

This is what Sonja had to say about her experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?

I have had the opportunity to present my recent work on developing automated high-content imaging workflows to a wider community of cancer biologists. I have received a great deal of positive feedback and many researchers have expressed desire to collaborate. Professor Braithwaite, one of the meeting organizers, has suggested we combine our expertise to investigate how tumour suppressor p53 is inducing cellular senescence in cancer cells isolated from reproductive tissues. Novel high-content imaging-based assay I’m currently working up in Russel laboratory will speed up our ability to acquire and analyse data at least 50-fold. The conference highlight was meeting Prof Gurdon, Nobel Prize Winner, who talked about his embryology work from 50s. He was very interested in our telomere work in early embryos and was very encouraging.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance? Why are they important to your work?

I met with Prof Anthony Braithwaite from Dunedin who is a world authority on tumour suppressor p53 and is a leading researcher in molecular mechanisms in cancer. His lab expressed an interest in applying automated high-content imaging assays I have been developing in Russel’s lab, and we envisage that our two institutions will benefit greatly from applying this new technology to cancer cell biology.

How will the experience support you and your research going forward?

Invitation to speak at the QMB has been a huge privilege. I have met researchers who are looking for ways to apply advanced imaging techniques to their work. My skill set in this area is sought after and I am excited by the opportunity to collaborate with many researchers I met at this meeting.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?

Prof Gurdon’s talk was the most fascinating collection of more than 25 years of work in oocytes.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

Meeting my old lab head from Sydney was unexpected. Hearing about Prof Antoine Van Oijen’s work on replication forks and super-resolution microscopy was the most interesting.

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