Last week I had the opportunity to start my sunny days attending to a Summer School organized by The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), which runs the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM).
Location: lost in the forest! And also…one of the headquarters of the EC. Sited close from an small town of Italy named Ispra.
Getting there was actually kind of difficult, as it is completely isolated from the rest of the world. But…once we made it (me and 120 other delegates from around the world) it was really worth it.
The place was thoroughly amazing, a well-preserved natural park surrounded by those that are probably among the best-equipped research laboratories in the world.
One of the open arguments: “… to encourage and help you to become champions in shifting the paradigm so that society can benefit from excellent, relevant and impactful science that doesn’t need animals…”. Participants came from 34 countries and indeed, this Summer School of “Non-Animal Approaches in Science” hosted excellent speakers in different fields to discuss the present and future challenges of alternative methods of research.
Meanwhile, all the participants presented a poster and 20 PhD students and young researchers had oral presentations.
During the Summer School completely novel and interesting approaches such as human in silico drug trials, innovative cell culture techniques, and the adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) so promoted nowadays were among the most mentioned.
However, every alternative method had the opportunity to shine in some of the numerous sessions and debates planned during this intense but very productive week.
After each conference in the main auditorium, scheduled reunions called “World Café” with the speakers were planned. There, in a closer and smaller spaces, everyone had the chance to formulate questions, ask about specific suggestions for their research work and even share with top specialists in their field a face to face conversation. That was, without a doubt my favourite part!
On the other hand, the logistics of the event was outstanding and we have a lovely social dinner surrounded by roses and a privileged view to the “Lago Maggiore”. I leave you here with some pictures, and hopping that all of you have a great summertime! Hopefully, we will have the summer back again at the end of the year in Chile!
Looking forward to see you guys!
All the best!