SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  8 November 2012
Volume 13 Issue 11

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Student Awardee Reports from the SETAC Asia Pacific Meeting

Ms. Ji-Woo Lee (Korea)
I visited Kumamoto in September as a student who received a scholarship from SETAC to attend the Asia/Pacific 2012 annual meeting. Moreover, I got the opportunity to present the results of my research at this meeting. The Asia-Pacific meeting is big international conference that covers a wide range of key research topics about environmental issues. The meeting is intended to encourage specialists in environmental disciplines to meet and share their findings. The issues ranges from air pollution, marine and coastal pollution, remediation; POPs, emerging contaminants for human health, environmental and analytical chemistry and ecotoxicity, to risk assessment and regulation. Contributions of this conference included discussion of new data, methods and tools as well as design solutions in environmental engineering. Experimental and practical techniques were discussed, such as exploration of the safety of major surfactant classes in the environment, new analytical techniques for emerging contaminants and integrated risk assessment and management of multiple stressors.

On Monday afternoon, I presented my research results on the analysis of PFCs in various food samples and the resulting PFC exposure dose by food ingestion in Korea. This was a great opportunity to present my work to an audience and exchange information with leading researchers and scientists from around the world. It was an excellent opportunity for me to gain presentation skills and learn about state-of-the-art ideas carried out by other researchers. It was also beneficial for my career in terms of knowledge transfer, personal networking and professional advancement.

During the event, I obtained some feedback from experts in academia and industry on the analytical aspects of my research. Lots of innovative ideas and state-of-the-art issues were generated during this conference.

Ms. Rathishri Chandurvelan (India)
The 8th SETAC Asia-Pacific annual meeting took place from 24th September to 27th September 2012 in Kumamoto, Japan. The meeting was attended by 400 to 500 participants from different countries. Each day, the presentations started with key note lectures followed by other talks. Parallel sessions were held on all four days of the conference on topics ranging from bioaccumulation, metal effects on wildlife and amphibian ecotoxicology and environmental-omics from 8:30 am to 7 pm. The different methods and techniques employed in these areas were very informative. Poster sessions were held every evening for the first three days of the meeting and were on display the whole day.

As a PhD student at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was selected to give an oral presentation on “Assessment of metal toxicity effects in New Zealand green-lipped mussels using immunotoxic and cytotoxic biomarkers”. This work is part of my PhD research and was about the use of cellular biomarkers as a cost-effective method for assessment of the toxic metal effects in green-lipped mussels. I was very pleased to receive good feedback from fellow researchers.

It was interesting to hear the most recent research findings from other presenters. I was particularly interested in the “omics” and aquatic toxicology sessions. However, I also enjoyed presentations given in other sessions as they gave me fresh ideas for my future research work. I was also impressed with the quality of questions from the audience.

It was a great opportunity to meet researchers from different fields of toxicology under the same roof. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to network with fellow students and researchers. I was also very excited about visiting the Kumamoto castle. I made new friends from different countries. Overall the meeting was very interesting and fun! I enjoyed my stay in Kumamoto and in Tokyo. I would like to thank and express my gratitude to SETAC Asia-Pacific Committee members for awarding me a travel scholarship to attend the meeting. I anticipate that I will be attending SETAC conferences in the future.

Ms. Mega Mutiara Sari, Indonesia
SETAC regularly holds annual meetings to improve the knowledge of problems related to the environment. The SETAC Asia-Pacific annual meeting, held from the 24th to the 27th of Septembers, was my first. As a student it was very valuable for helping with research I have been working on. Attending several sessions during the meeting truly expanded my knowledge on environmental issues. The sessions also taught me how to solve problems from a researcher's point of view. The many studies presented were interesting and inspiring.

The annual meeting lasted four days, in which each day offered three sessions and five speakers. The presentations were held in four different rooms with different themes. A variety of world-class researchers, lecturers, professors, government officers and students took part into the meeting.

The evening before the annual meeting began with a welcome party. It provided a great opportunity for attendees to get to know one another and to share experiences. The next day started with an opening ceremony, in which scholarships were awarded to three oral presenters. I was one of the three lucky students to be granted a scholarship and I was proud to be the only one who represented Indonesia. The other two grantees were from India and South Korea. I presented "Mercury and Heavy Metals" in the 1st session of the 25 September 2012 presentation. This funding has given me a priceless experience that will surely enrich my knowledge.

While formal sessions became our primary focus, a dinner conference was also important to get to know other attendees. In this informal session students, researchers, lecturers, professors and government officers were accessible to one another, providing another opportunity to share knowledge and experience.

The SETAC Asia-Pacific annual meeting was held in Kumamoto Japan, a city with strong Japanese traditions combined with the country's advanced technologies. The conference ended with a closing ceremony when awards were given to three best oral presenters and best posters. After the closing ceremony, we still had an opportunity to take a trip to Minamata, where methyl mercury poisoning sickened thousands of people over a period of more than 30 years. The trip strengthened my concern regarding the importance of our environment. In sum, it was an indispensable experience to be able to attend the meeting and I am looking forward to attending the similar ones in the future.

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