My lab team and I recently had the privilege of attending the American Society of Haematology (ASH) conference in New Orleans, USA. The conference was an incredibly enriching experience as we learned about the latest developments in our field, network with other professionals, and established new collaborations. One of the most valuable aspects of the conference was listening to the brilliant scientific talks, which provided me with inspiration and new ideas for my own work. The conference was also a great opportunity for learning and gaining new perspectives.
I was thrilled to be invited to present my research and represent Manchester in an oral presentation. Although it was my first time presenting in front of such a large audience, I was honoured to be doing so in front of some of the most brilliant group leaders in my field, whom I had looked up to for a long time. While it was nerve-wracking, the presentation went well and was well-received. It even sparked interest from potential collaborators who engaged us in discussions about future collaborations. It was a truly beneficial experience as it increased my own and my lab's visibility.
Exploring the city of New Orleans was another highlight of the trip. The centre of the city, the French Quarter area, was particularly captivating with its unique architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. We enjoyed wandering the streets in the evenings, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. Of course, the main road in the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, is a must-see. While being there, we made sure to check out talented street performers and jazz bands, as well as the most popular jazz clubs, such as the Spotted Cat and Fritzel Jazz. We also indulged in delicious local cuisine, including Gumbo, Po-boys, and other Cajun dishes. Cafe du Monde was a particular favourite, where we enjoyed delicious coffee and warm, freshly baked beignets.
After the conference, we decided to extend our stay in the city to explore further. We enjoyed a walk alongside the Mississippi River, explored Jackson Square, and even went on a swamp tour where we had the opportunity to see local animals like raccoons and alligators. I even had the chance to hold a live alligator, a bizarre yet fantastic experience.
In addition to the professional and cultural experiences, the trip was also a great bonding opportunity for our lab. We all returned feeling energized and inspired by the new ideas and perspectives we gained and are looking forward to implementing some of the latest collaborations and projects we discussed during the conference.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip, and a valuable experience for our lab, and I would highly recommend it to any other lab or research group. New Orleans is a city that offers something for everyone, whether you're a history lover, a foodie, or just looking for a good time.
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