Students go global with their work

21 December 2018


The Nigel Clarke memorial travel grant supports postgraduate students at Kids Neuroscience Centre travel to research conferences and present their work. Named in honour of the former leader of the Centre, the grant provides students a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow scientists, foster collaboration and receive feedback for their work, and can provide many ideas for future exploration.

This year, three students were successful in receiving funding, which saw them attend conferences in France and Germany.  Shelly Robertson, Natalie Pride and Alicia Zou share their experiences on what this meant for them:

Shelley Roberston, Neurofibromatosis researcher

From the 2nd to the 6th November, 2018, the Joint global neurofibromatosis (NF) conference was held in Paris, France. For the first time, the European and United States NF conferences were combined and a record-breaking 900 delegates from all over the world attended.

I was extremely lucky to receive the Nigel Clarke memorial travel grant for the conference, which involved presentation of the latest clinical and scientific research on NF and provided me with an invaluable learning opportunity.

I was lucky enough to be selected as a semi-finalist in the conference poster competition which allowed me to discuss my PhD research on reading difficulties in children with NF1 with other researchers and clinicians. The conference was also a great opportunity for me to learn about what projects other research teams were working on, and to discuss potential future areas of research.

Natalie Pride, Neurofibromatosis researcher

I was provided the opportunity to attend the 2018 Joint Global Neurofibromatosis (NF) Conference in Paris, France, which was the largest-ever gathering of the top NF researchers and clinicians in the world. As such this conference, and the associated psychology workshop which I was invited to, was a valuable opportunity to network with potential collaborators for future research projects and grant schemes.

I presented our team’s latest research findings via a poster to experts in the field of NF1, thus enabling critical feedback on this research. 

The conference was also a great opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field of NF1 and social psychology. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity which would not have been possible without the Nigel Clarke Memorial Travel Grant.

Alicia Zou, Brain Autoimmunity

I was given the opportunity to present my research at the international Keystone Symposia conference on B cells: mechanisms in immunity and autoimmunity in the second year of my PhD. This meeting was held in Dresden, Germany in June, 2018.

This conference was an incredible opportunity to hear about the latest developments in the field of immunology and to network with well-known scientists from around the world. I intend to discuss some of the findings I learnt at this conference in my PhD thesis.

Also, through presenting a poster of my research and discussing aspects of my methodology with experts, I was able to establish collaborations with fellow scientists which has positively impacted the efficiency of my project.

I was very grateful to receive funding from the Nigel Clarke Memorial Travel Grant to assist with the costs of conference registration, travel, and accommodation and would like to thank everyone who was involved in this process for helping me experience this unique opportunity.

Pictured: Shelley and Natalie with their poster presentations at the NF-1 conference in Paris.