Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Cell and Gene Therapy Congress

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

I'm kind of going through all the drafts in my blog and finishing them off one by one. So if you realised that I suddenly have a lot of postings lately, that is the reason why. Plus, I needed to make room for the most interesting post that is coming very soon!! So bear with me for a bit.

From the previous parts (1&2) of my solo trip to Amsterdam, this is the reason for the trip. My first conference, the cell and gene therapy convention, which was held at Amsterdam RAI convention centre. 

Very early in the morning, after having my snacks and my morning cartoon (even though it's in dutch), I went to the conference with excitement.

There weren't a lot of participants, only a couple of hundred. I only realised that this conference will mainly talk about manufacturing products and machines for cell and gene therapy during the morning briefing. haha...At first, I was a bit let down, thinking why was I there in the first place. But later on, I was glad that I came.

My favourite part, coffee and some nibbles. The best thing that this conference was held in Amsterdam is the stroopwafels. I can have as many as I want!! hahaha

The convention centre is huge. But our conference is just at one of the halls.

Most of the exhibitors are from companies related to cell culture and cell therapy, such as biolabs, gibco and many more. Most of them were very kind to entertain me and my silly questions. Some of them did snub when they found out I was a PhD student. I'm not the only one though, there are a few other PhD students. But most of them are reps from companies.

I love collecting goodies from companies. My bestie always nagged me not to take any more stuff. We get a lot of companies that opened their booth at Imperial too, where they will always have great freebies. That cute cow there is actually a screen wiper. =P

Most of the seminars are about manufacturing products, GMP etc, only very little was about research and study cases. This guy right here, he looks pretty young, right? He's the CEO!! Kind of reminds me of an episode in criminal minds where Dr Reid was approached by a young man after his talk and it turned out, the guy was the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. Kind of like this guy right here, only better dressed, and handsome too...hahaha

The conference did give me a clearer idea of what I want to do after I finished my PhD. It showed me the opportunities that I have out there. Probably it's time to explore another country? =D

On the last night, they held a Christmas party since this was held in early December. I've been to a few Christmas party, and the theme is always the nightmare before Christmas. I guess they thought it wouldn't be mainstream, but it is. 

Before the party, there was a special session by this guy, Toby Peach. He's a cancer survivor. This session is called his eulogy (eulogy is a speech given by the loved ones of a deceased at their funeral). It's comedic, yet informative way of spreading awareness about cancer. Toby is from the UK and has gone to many places, giving his 'eulogy' and raising funds for cancer research. Here's some preview of his eulogy.

He was an awfully nice chap. He's taken girls..sorry...that lady went through his struggle with him. Stayed by his side through his worst times. She didn't come along though. I would've loved to meet her.

At the party, of course, there'll be gingerbread cookies. The huge pretzel has salts (those little white things), which is quite a lot when you eat them. I don't like it.

More cookies and party favours. Those crackers aren't real. haha...

A party won't be complete without a live rock band. 

This is the part where they love to drink and get drunk. There's this Gluhwein stall, which is mulled wine. One of the things they will chug down during festive month. A girl was passing around some franks. As she gets to me, she immediately said sorry, I don't think you can eat these. That was very nice and considerate of her. I didn't expect her to know Muslim dietary requirements, but she did, and that made me feel so warm and welcomed.

Since I didn't stay at the party for very long, I went out and take a stroll instead. 

Enjoying the lights and the night scenes of Amsterdam.

Until next time...

No comments: