Balint Csoboz, post doc at the University of Tromsø and IBA member, received funding from us to attend a course in South Africa. This is what he has to report from the stay:
Between the 16th and the 19th of September, I was attending the workshop “Epigenetics of infectious and non-communicable diseases” in Cape Town South Africa. The meeting was organized by the South African component of the ICGEB (International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology). I have received partial funding from the meeting organizers for the attendance and the reason I applied for the support of IBA was to complement this funding in order to be able to manage the travel costs for the course.
ICGEB is an intergovernmental organization funded by the United Nations, which runs 46 state-of-the-art laboratories and forms an interactive network with over 65 Member States. ICGEB also offers a set of courses (https://www.icgeb.org/activities/meeting-and-courses/) and opportunities for short and long-term PhD/postdoc fellowships (https://www.icgeb.org/activities/fellowship/) to which I would highly encourage anyone to check out and apply for.
The workshop was focusing on many interesting aspects of epigenetics associated with infectious diseases as the epigenetics of host-pathogen interactions, the manipulation of epigenetics as host-directed drug therapy for infectious and non-communicable diseases, the analysis of micro- and long non-coding micro RNA in different pathologies or the role of epigenetics in modulation of host immune responses in diseases. This workshop provided insights of methods and models to identify epigenetic targets such as DNA methylation, covalent modification of histones, and the expression of non-coding RNA. During the poster sessions, I was introduced to methods that will certainly benefit my research on virally induced cancer. Like the technique of performing dual RNA sequencing of the host and infectious agent during infection and the usage and design of artificial epigenetic (gene) silencing by the means of gene editing.
I also felt very lucky because I had the chance to get familiar with the history and the culture of the host country and visit the surroundings of Cape Town during the meeting. Especially, hiking the Table Mountain was a great experience, which is elected to be one of the Natural wonders of the world.
I feel that my attendance of the workshop was fruitful and rewarding. I managed to familiarize myself with the field of epigenetics and non-coding RNA research, which would be very useful for my postdoctoral project.
I am grateful for the support of IBA, which allowed me to participate in this course and have this fantastic experience.