Travel story: Ella Green

Ella Green from the Robinson Research Institute travelled to Woods Hole, Massachusetts in the USA from April – June to attend the Frontiers in Reproduction (FIR) advanced training course and symposium.

This is what Ella had to say about her experience in the USA.

What was a highlight of the travel?

There were too many highlights to name them all, but some of the memorable times I had in the lab included learning how to perform IVF, ICSI, endometrial stromal cell isolation, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), sperm patch-clamping electrophysiology, mock spermatogonial stem cell transplants, and immunofluorescence of Drosophila reproductive tracts.

Did you attend any workshops, labs, research facilities or attend any meetings associated with your travel?

The FIR course was held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, USA, for 6 weeks. World class researchers and leaders in the field of reproductive biology travelled to the MBL to give the students lectures and teach laboratory techniques on a daily basis. This arrangement gave the opportunity for constant interaction with the lecturers and mentors. I had many highly valuable discussions with lecturers about fascinating topics in reproductive biology, including discussions about my own PhD work and ideas for future work. The learning experience that FIR provided was completely unique and FIR was undoubtedly the most rewarding experience of my career thus far.

It was a pleasure to represent the RRI at the course. I found that the institute is highly regarded internationally, with many of the senior researchers I spoke to familiar with the work being done at the RRI. I sincerely thank the RRI for supporting my attendance at FIR.

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

I had the opportunity to meet with several fantastic mentors and discuss my current PhD work, and well as fascinating topics in the field of reproductive biology. These discussion will undoubtedly help me in my current and future research endeavours. Researchers with particular relevance to my work and interests were Franco Demayo, Peggy Petroff, Asgi Fazleabas, Errol Norwitz, Carmen Williams and Tom Spencer.

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

FIR was an extremely valuable experience for my research career so far. FIR will support my research career going forward in many ways. I made international networks and friends, and broadened my knowledge in the field of reproductive biology. I also learned many new laboratory techniques and was exposed to the latest, most cutting edge research in the field.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced whilst traveling?

We got to perform mouse ICSI and embryo microinjection, using advanced microscopes and micromanipulators. We also performed IVF with starfish and zebrafish, and did oocyte maturation with Xenopus oocytes.

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

On a free day we took a trip out to Provincetown, a quirky beach town on the tip of Cape Cod. From there we caught a boat out to the Atlantic and went whale watching. We were able to see many Humpback and Minke whales, dolphins and gulls on this trip. Many of the whales worked in a team to trap fish by releasing a cloud of small bubbles, known as a bubble cloud. This was a fantastic thing to experience.

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