Wanshu Ma, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, Chicago, under the supervision of Dr. Guillermo Oliver, received a Travel Award from LE&RN to attend the Lymphatic Forum in Austin, TX. We asked Wanshu to share her thoughts on that experience with us and to tell us a bit about her research and future plans.
What did you get out of the Lymphatic Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
I would like to thank LE&RN for the award and for supporting me to attend the Lymphatic Forum in Austin. It was my second time attending the Lymphatic Forum, and it was a great experience for me. The talks at the Lymphatic Forum were fascinating and inspiring. I presented my work as a poster and got valuable feedback. I was able to meet catch up with colleagues and collaborators and develop new connections. For the first time, I met the lymphedema patients and their families in person and learned how this disease is affecting their lives, which is a very unforgettable experience. I like this conference because Lymphatic Forum builds a collaborative environment for scientists and clinicians to work together to facilitate lymphatic research and enhance the treatment of lymphatic disorders.
What are your areas of interest in research?
I study lymphatic vasculature development. I have generated transgenetic mouse model systems to investigate the molecular regulation of lymphangiogenesis in development and diseases. I am also interested in how metabolism shapes lymphatic vessel development.
What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?
I hope that my work will improve our understanding of lymphatic vasculature development and the role of lymphatics in disease, in the hope that one day we will find a novel and effective treatment for lymphedema patients and other diseases in which lymphatic vasculature is playing an active role.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
I think lymphatic research is very important. In the past 20 years, we begin to understand the key regulators of lymphangiogenesis and find that lymphatic vasculature dysfunction leads to diseases such as lymphedema, obesity, etc. Lymphatic research will fuel the development of novel therapeutic targets for those diseases. I hope more enthusiastic and passionate scientists and clinicians will find lymphatic research is interesting and important and would like to join this exciting field. I hope lymphatic research will gain more recognition and funding opportunities with the help of LE&RN.
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