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Interview with the Research Day Organization Committee

Denys Kovalenko, Camila Vazques Echegaray and Inês Caiado

After a long break due to the pandemic the WCMM Research Day has been organized in its full form on-site again. It brought WCMM researchers, communicators, economist, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) members, the director Gunilla Westergren-Thorsson, and co-directors Jonas Larsson and Lars Dahlin, the two newly recruited DDLS fellows and everyone else invited together to embrace the excellent translational research done in Lund. The vast participation catalyzed the success of the day, but there were three young researchers whose sincere engagement enabled the manifestation of the event.

Camila Echegaray Vazquez, Denys Kovalenko and Inês Caiado formed the organization committee for the WCMM Research Day 2023 and took over the responsibility of planning and executing the program. We wanted to know more from them, why they applied for the position as organizers and what they expected to achieve.

Camila, Denys and Inês, first of all, why did you apply to organize the WCMM Research Day?

C: I conceived it as a very good opportunity to get involved with the center and connect not only with the WCMM community, but also to engage with people across Sweden.

D: Since I came to Lund 9 month ago, I’ve received a lot of support here. After a while I felt that I want to give something in return, and herein I decided to apply to and contribute as a WCMM Research Day organization committee member.

I: In my view good and creative science arises from discussion and collaborative environments. Although the center has many groups working in different aspects of regenerative medicine, since the COVID-19 pandemic we did not have any opportunity to bring all together. The WCMM Research Day 2023 was the perfect opportunity to organize a day to promote collaboration within the center and practice organization skills.


You all were very enthusiastic about organizing the WCMM Research Day, what was your overall goal to achieve?

C: The goal was to strengthen the network of researchers in the center and to facilitate communication among everyone regarding the research which is being done here.

D: To bring researchers and clinicians together, to present, discuss and enjoy science.

I: Our aim for the WCMM Research Day was to offer the WCMM community an opportunity to discuss interesting topics that might impact the research we do in the center, as artificial intelligence, and how it can shape the WCMM Lund future. Also, very important was to give an opportunity to WCMM trainees to share their work and promote a collaborative environment.


This brings us to the next question. The overarching topic of the WCMM Research Day 2023 was “Artificial Intelligence in Regenerative Medicine” and the program involved many interesting topics and activities. But which of the planned activities would you pick out as your personal favorite?

C: I think the “Fireside chat” session was very exciting! I believe we learned a lot from the discussion and had some interesting conversations and reflections regarding AI in regenerative medicine.


Denys and Inês, do you share the opinion with Camila? Would you pick the “Fireside chat” session as well as your favorite?

D: For me, it was the “Bench-to-clinic” workshop, where we heard the exciting example of translating preclinical research to clinical practice.

I: Yes, the pre-clinical/clinical workshop. For me, this activity summarizes and reflects the main goal of WCMM Lund of bringing together pre-clinical and clinical research, what I believe is still a big gap in most research centers.


It is great to hear that you had your favorites across the program, which we all agree was exciting from the start to the very end. But we were wondering, since you made it look so easy to bring the WCMM Lund community together for this day, what was the biggest challenge during the organization?

C: We found it a bit challenging to gather the speakers, but I believe ultimately, we ended up with a great line-up for the day!

D: It was hard to decide which speakers to invite for the Panel Discussion.

I: Gathering speakers in AI related to Regenerative Medicine. Although it was a challenge, it was also highly interesting to see that there is still a big gap, which shows that there is a lot of opportunities to apply AI in this field.


You still managed to solve all the obstacles and even set the expectations high for the next WCMM Research Day 2024. We will soon announce the call for applications to form a new organization committee. The WCMM Lund wants to express their gratitude for all the work and efforts you have put in the organization of this event. Is there any message you want to send out to the WCMM community in Lund?

C: I see the high quality of the research and researchers at WCMM, so let´s keep it up! After a lot of dedication, I hope the participants enjoyed the Research Day 2023!

D: Don’t forget to smile! It was a pleasure seeing you all on the 12th of April!

I: I hope everyone enjoyed the day and had nice discussions, but I think what is even more important to state is to not forget what you learned and to know what your “neighbors” are doing. Especially, for young researchers I think this is a big part of our career, to establish a network of scientists across different fields, who might be interesting candidates for potential collaborations in the future.