OrganoVIR Labs Goes to Amsterdam Kinder Symposium

On the 3rd of February 2022, the researchers of OrganoVIR Labs (Ikrame Aknouch, Inés Garcia-Rodriguez, and Pamela Capendale) and coordinator, Dasja Pajkrt, were invited to attend and present their research at the Amsterdam Kinder Symposium (AKS). During AKS, researchers who are conducting research in pediatrics or are in collaboration with pediatrics can present and discuss their work.

During the breakfast session of the event, our very own PhD student Ikrame Aknouch, in cooperation with Nutricia (the main sponsor of the AKS), presented her research “Human milk inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection in a human intestinal epithelial model”.

Ikrame Aknouch presenting her research at the AKS during the breakfast session

After the event, we got in touch with Ikrame to interview her about her presentation at the AKS. “A week before the event, we were able to practice our presentation and tailor it to our audience. Most of them are clinicians, and of course, the people of Nutricia”, she said about her preparation phase before her presentation at the AKS. She also added, “I am very happy that I was able to present my work. My advice to other researchers for presenting their research at an event is: believe in yourself and in your research. You should be proud of it!”.

Later that day, Inés Garcia-Rodriguez presented her research “Parechovirus A infection of the intestinal epithelium: differences between genotypes A1 and A3”. Inés was selected for one of the six final presentations, which means that she was able to present her research again.

Inés Garcia-Rodriguez presenting her research at the AKS

We also interviewed her about other moments during the event that were memorable for her. “Apart from being selected as one of the final presenters, I also received feedback that was outside of the laboratory perspective – I found that very refreshing. It made me think of alternative ways to approach my research” she says, and later on added, “I also almost cried during one of the talks from Ms. Vanessa Liem. Listening to her experience raising a child with Severe Intellectual and Multiple Disability and how she created an organization to raise awareness and to help other families with similar situations made me realize how lucky we are to be healthy”.

Lastly, Pamela Capendale presented her research “Cerebral organoids as a model to study genotype-dependent potential of Parechovirus A to cause Central Nervous System related illnesses in an infant”.

Aside from the presentations from the PhD students, there were several inspiring lectures delivered during the event, including “Putting my best foot forward” by Dr. Marije Smits, who is a pediatric resident at UMC Utrecht and former Paralympic athlete, as well as the lecture “From another perspective” by Ms. Vanessa Liem.

We are beyond proud of our PhD students, and we are looking forward to seeing them present in more events!