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WCMM Fireside Chat: Organizers of the Research Day

WCMM Research Day Organizers: Oscar van der Have (left), Swathi Pakirisamy (middle) and Iran Augusto Silva (right)

Welcome to the fifth edition of the "WCMM Fireside Chat" series, an ongoing initiative, which showcases and highlights the work of researchers affiliated with or connected to WCMM in Lund. In this edition, we turn our spotlight to this years' WCMM Research day organizers Oscar van der Have, Swathi Pakirisamy and Iran Augusto Silva. Two oft them, Oscar and Iran, shared their motivations, experiences, and insights into this enriching event.

First, we started with the big question, why organizing the WCMM Research Day?

Both Oscar and Iran had the drive to contribute to the WCMM research community which they are regularly part of and knowledge exchange was a common thread among the organizers. Iran emphasized that as an early-stage Postdoctoral researcher one has the desire to broaden the exposure to diverse research areas. Iran saw this event as a good opportunity to nurture future collaborations. Oscar as well sought to take this opportunity and get to know the WCMM Lund a bit better and the researcher affiliated with it. He as well emphasized the current program and activities from the center and that he has "always enjoyed its translational approach and activities."

The goals of the WCMM Research Day 2024?

"Building bridges; collaborations, spark scientific ideas, encourage crosstalk between groups and of course building bridges on a social level", are some of the many goals that Oscar lists. Iran as well showed ambition and told us that there was two main aims: "Firstly, to stimulate discussion within the WCMM community on emerging topics with potential impact on the center's research direction. Secondly, the event aimed to provide a platform for WCMM trainees to showcase their work and foster a collaborative research environment."

We can conclude that at the heart of the WCMM Research Day there was a mission to build bridges - between disciplines, between researchers, and between ideas. Especially the activities focused on translational sciencewhich is a characteristic of WCMM in Lund and once again brought together bench and bedside scientists. So, we wanted to know, what was the overall experience of organizing the WCMM Research Day?

The answer: Smooth and RewardingReflecting on the overall experience, both organizers described the experiences as positive, but acknowledged also the support of staff and researchers around the center, who pitched their expertise drawing from past experiences to ensure the event's success. Despite challenges such as organizing the event fromdistance and with time limitationsboth organizers felt rewarded at the end of the day.

Which were your favorite activities planned?

Among the dense program of the day, the poster session and the WCMM Trainee Talks emerged as clear favorites. The poster session, characterized by intense discussions, provided a useful platform not only for showcasing research but also driving ideas and suggestions from peers and senior scientists. Meanwhile, the Trainee Talks offered a glimpse into the exciting projects ongoing at WCMM Lund. Iran's favorite was "the poster session, thought-provoking, sparked great discussions during the event" while Oscar's favorite point of the day was "to see the span of interesting projects that are being undertaken at the WCMM."

Besides the positive impressions of the day, has there been challenges associated with the organization as well?

And the answer was - yes. Iran emphasized that "balancing time and distance proved a significant challenge during the organization of the WCMM Research Day." Iran is currently managing a project in Panama, which includes coordinating schedules, and fulfilling other commitments, which made it particularly demanding. However, Iran still is deeply grateful for the patience and support of the other organizers throughout the event. On the other side, Oscar found it challenging to adapt the schedule to pre-clinical researchers as a clinician. He says: "Working with pre-clinical research as a clinician, I was hoping to contribute towards creating a balanced schedule that would attract both pre-clinical and clinical scientists."

In the end, we wanted to give both organizers the room for some last words to the WCMM community in Lund.

Iran: "The WCMM Research Day provided so many nice discussions and valuable insights, besides connections that will fuel our future research. I hope that we keep doing this great job and keep it going! Share your key takeaways and ideas for future collaborations to keep the WCMM at the forefront of our faculty."

Oscar: "Be curious about research outside of your own field!"

Thanks to both of you for sharing your views and experiences with the WCMM community and thank you for the organization of a great WCMM Research Day!