Travel Grant Winner Lidiia Babenko Attends United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona

"For me as a young scientist, the experience of communicating with scientists whose articles I read and the opportunity to present my work to them is absolutely invaluable."

A travel grant from the US-Ukraine Foundation allowed me to participate in the 27th United European Gastroenterology Week (October 21-23, 2019, Barcelona, Spain) and in the related training course – the Postgraduate Teaching Program (October 19-20, 2019, Barcelona, Spain).

UEG Week is an annual congress hosted by the United European Gastroenterology community, but in recent years it has ceased to be “European” because UEG Week brings together doctors and scientists from all over the world. This is one of the most significant and important congresses in this area. Over 17,200 participants from 120 countries visited UEG Week Barcelona in 2019.

In addition to the Congress, UEG organizes an accompanying training event, the Postgraduate Teaching Program (PGT). PGT is a unique program developed by specialists from UEG to improve the skills and knowledge of both physicians and biologists whose work is related to gastroenterology. The full course is divided into three years and is designed in such a way that a person with any level of education will be able to find the necessary and important training program among 4-10 parallel sessions that run from early morning to late evening on Saturday-Sunday before main UEG Week Congress. The application, specially developed for the UEG Week Congress, allowed to mark the sessions of interest and in this way each participant (over 4,000 PGT participants this year) could plan his own program of visits. I attended the most useful educational courses for my current research, devoted to new regimens for the use of drugs for inflammatory bowel diseases treatment, advanced endoscopic techniques, techniques and prospects for fecal microbiota transplantation, and also all special courses dedicated to microbiota research.

While participating in the main Congress, I had a poster presentation and presented the work “Translatable model of metabolic syndrome and liver disease in small animals using preclinical ultrasound”, which is a part of a large study conducted in collaboration with my colleagues Bubnov R.V., Lazarenko L.M., Spivak M.Y. from the Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology of NAS of Ukraine and is devoted to studying the potential of using probiotic strains with clearly defined spectrum of activity for metabolic disorders correction and treatment of concomitant pathologies in patients with metabolic syndrome.

The success of my current research depends on the ability to collaborate with colleagues around the world, present preliminary results to the public and get an assessment from leading experts (both positive and negative). Only in this case will my work move in the right direction. Participation in the UEG Week was of key importance to me, because this congress allows to exchange experiences and receive important feedback from specialists in different ways.

The organizers of the UEG Week create all the conditions for successful collaboration between the participants. UEG Week is not only oral and poster presentations and sessions. There are many zones for direct communication between participants on the Congress territory, where you can freely communicate with leading scientists, ask them about their work or ask for advice. The experience of previous UEG Week congresses shows that many groups of scientists from all over the world during the Congress were able to find necessary acquaintances and create reliable collaborations that became the basis of serious joint scientific research.

For me as a young scientist, the experience of communicating with scientists whose articles I read and the opportunity to present my work to them is absolutely invaluable. During the congress, I met three world-class experts in the field of studying the influence of microbiota on the metabolic processes, with whom I currently have close contacts and discuss the possibility of conducting joint research. It’s also important for me that my work was appreciated; my poster had many visitors who spoke positively about the study and received three special congress marks “I like your poster”.

UEG Week 2019 attendance is a very important step in my career. I express my deep gratitude to the US-Ukraine Foundation for the opportunity to visit UEG Week 2019 and the additional Postgraduate Teaching Program, which had an invaluable impact on my scientific work.

- Lidiia Babenko, Research Fellow, Department of Problems of Interferon and Immunomodulators, D.K. Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, NAS of Ukraine