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SETAC Annual Meeting in Helsinki - a meeting place also for junior scientists

In May 2019 the SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting was held in Helsinki, Finland. Several junior scientists from FRAM including master students joined the conference and found this a great experience for many reasons such as a chance to see how actual science work in practice and to broaden their networks and finding out what to do next.

The days spent at SETAC gave our students a nice opportunity to learn many hand-on things at the conference but one of the most interesting ones was to see how actual science works. In general, they got the feeling that ecotoxicology is a growing field with increasing importance in current society. They also appreciated and enjoyed the special sessions, which were about important topics like gender biases in science and communication of sciences.

Photo, from left: Fabian Wecichert, Alba López-Mangas, Max Karlsson, Monica del Aguila, and Pedro Inostroza.

We asked some of our students to answer some short questions about their experiences.

Why come as a master student to SETAC in Helsinki?
Alba López-Mangas:
– I went to present my master thesis results from the Chilean case study conducted within FRAM, but beyond that, I was very curious to see what other scientists were doing the ecotoxicology field, in particular in chemical risk assessment.
Monica del Aguila:
– I was very interested to attend the conference, to be able to benefit from the interaction with experienced researchers and to take as much useful information and inspiration from the event as possible. I was aiming that this would help me decide my future direction in the scientific world. Moreover, I was also interested in presenting the results of my master thesis and to obtain feedback.
Fabian Weichert:
– Because I think it is important to learn to communicate research.

What do you bring home from the meeting?
Alba López-Mangas:
– A bit clearer picture of what I want to do next, many interesting conversations and good networking for the future.
Monica del Aguila:
– Nice memories and the opportunity to meet and listen to some of the best scientists in Europe.
Fabian Weichert:
– I bring home new insights into recent research projects and some connections to interesting people.

Their advice to future master students is to take the chance if they get the opportunity to join a meeting like this. It is a great experience and can help to understand if this world of research is your thing. Apply for a grant or apply to be a student volunteer at the next SETAC.

FRAM PostDoc Pedro Inostroza was also happy with the meeting and a proud supervisor of Alba and Monica. “It was great to see the master students from the ecotoxicology master programme, and specifically Monica and Alba from the FRAM Centre, interacting and presenting their work in such conference. All of them did a great work!”

Pedro Inostroza went to Helsinki to present the research conducted within FRAM, specifically in the Chile case study. The plan was to present a poster only, about ecotoxicogenomics and ecotoxicity in freshwater ecosystems to give an overview about who is driving the ecotoxicity in chemically stressed freshwater ecosystems from a chemical mixture perspective. However, due to last-minute cancellations resulted in an opportunity for Pedro to also give an oral presentation entitled “Who is driving the ecotoxicity in a chemically stressed freshwater ecosystem? Insights from a Chilean river basin exposed to metal and pesticide mixtures”. The response was great and it was clear how relevant it is becoming the mixture toxicity assessment today and the strong need to integrate it in future legislation. For Pedro Inostroza the meeting also resulted in several collaborations and new ideas to bring home.

Poster presentations

Monica del Aguila: Risk and biological assessment of heavy metals in the River Aconcagua, Chile
Alba López-Mangas: Characterisation of pesticide mixtures and their effects on freshwater communities in the Aconcagua River, Chile
Pedro Inostroza: Can pesticide stress affect genomic patterns of freshwater invertebrate organisms? A pilot study in agriculture areas in Southern Sweden
Fabian Weichert: The Baltic populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) at risk? A multi-biomarker study as contribution to the understanding of a pressing health issue

Read more here if you are interested in the Master's Programme in Ecotoxicology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The next SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting will be held 3-7 May in Dublin, Ireland. Open Science for Enhanced Global Environmental Protection.


More from FRAM at SETAC Helsinki 2019.