Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Caroline and I am a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. My research project focuses on Striga - a genus of parasitic plants that devastates harvests by infecting food crops. I am exploring the defence reactions that can make host plants more resistant against Striga. Due to my ongoing battles with anorexia, I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked but I am determined to finish the course.

This blog charts the ups and downs of life in the lab, plus my dreams to become a science communicator and forays into public engagement and science policy....all while trying to keep my mental and physical health intact. Along the way, I'll also be sharing new plant science stories, and profiles of some of the researchers who inspire me on this journey. So whether you have a fascination for plants, are curious about what science research involves, or just wonder what exactly I do all day, read on - I hope you find it entertaining!

Wednesday 17 July 2013

The 12th World Congress on Parasitic Plants (Sheffield 2013)...

My excitement at attending WCPP12 is tempered by the fact that I am probably the youngest and certainly the most native (concerning parasitic plants) delegate, besides one of the least travelled. With over 30 countries represented and a strong African delegation, the conference certainly justifies its 'International' element. Having attended a few two- day conferences, I'm aware of the format: scientists appreciate good food, champagne receptions, cultural excursions but the main focus is to provide lots of opportunities to 'talk science'. Preferably with people who have experience in your field and can give you ideas and advice to bolster your own research back home.
As we raise our flutes of bubbly to give a toast at the opening ceremony I feel that I am in for a baptism of fire this week. I am very fortunate to have such a broad- range ( and cutting edge) introduction to the world I will be immersed in for the next four years. The fact that the conference is organised by my supervisor, held at my  imminent homeplace and my future lab colleagues are all here gives the whole occasion an aspect of being delivered by fate. Rather than taking advantage of the free bar, it's going to be an early night if I want to be up to the onslaught of new information tomorrow.

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