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ESB Travel Award Blog by Anushree Ghosh Dastidar

Anushree Ghosh Dastidar from Queens University Belfast received a travel bursary from UK to attend ESB2023. Here she reports on his experience at this international conference.

This report is with regards to attending the 33rd European Society for Biomaterials Conference held in Davos, Switzerland, 4th – 8th September 2023 (ESB 2023) for the UKSB Travel Grant 2023. The ESB conference is an annual conference that brings together researchers, scientists, and students from both academia and industry to discuss critical developments in the field of biomaterials. The conference was held in person and consisted of oral presentations and posters from early-stage researchers and leading researchers, and plenary talks from professors in the field of biomaterials and regenerative medicine.

This is by far the largest conference I had been to with over 1200 speakers and 10 rooms running parallel sessions simultaneously. The oral presentations consisted of sessions from students and professionals on their research findings and extended talks from academicians on the ongoing research in their labs. This gave a good insight into the advancement of tissue engineering and all related applications across the world. The research findings on biomaterials and degradation characterisation for scaffolds were especially beneficial to understanding the work that is going on in the world related to my topic.

I was allowed to present an oral presentation on ‘Investigating the regenerative potential of 3D-printed PLLGA/Alginate composite scaffolds for the treatment of articular cartilage defects’ where I answered questions from the audience. This in-person session was beneficial as the experience of presenting and answering questions from a large audience was a learning experience. The questions helped me gain experience on the kind of questions that I would be asked in the future regarding my topic.

This was also the first time I presented my PhD work on an international platform which was a wonderful experience. On top of this, I even won the Best Oral presentation award amongst 1200 presenters which was a prestige to bring for my university Queens University Belfast and the UKSB Society!

This has helped me become more confident in speaking and presenting which is an essential skill every PhD student must possess. The plenary talks from professors in the conference spoke about the different topics ranging from batteries, composite materials on tissue engineering, computational modelling and so on which helped me understand the impending research questions and challenges. Apart from this, there was a PhD & Post-doc mentoring session where we were divided into tables of 6-7 people and a senior faculty-mentored us. They spoke about the requirements for applying for a grant and the general process that an academic would follow. They patiently answered our questions on how we need to focus our careers after a PhD and gave valuable advice on each of our progress so far.

Another seminar organized by several chief editors of journals spoke on the process behind article writing and submission. As a PhD student, this helped me understand the expectations that come from an application made for a grant or submitting a manuscript that will be very beneficial for me in the future. There were also careers workshops from several industries that manufacture organ-on-chip, orthopaedic biomaterials, bioscience and biotechnology companies. Professionals from these companies also spoke on the ongoing animal and human trials for products which helped me understand the products that are currently available in the market and the scope for future products.

Overall, it has provided me with a good insight into the research labs across the world that are working in the field of bioengineering and regenerative medicine. I sincerely thank the UKSB society for providing me with the funding to attend this conference which has been an enriching experience to take away with me for my PhD.

Banner caption: Phase contrast microscopy of SHSY in collagen gel
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