The International Influenza Meeting through the Eyes of Louisa Wallace

Earlier this month, on the 2nd-4th of September 2022, our ESR Louisa Wallace (third person from the left in the picture above) traveled to Germany to attend the International Influenza Meeting. It is a meeting of world-leading influenza virologists to discuss cutting-edge influenza research and is held every two years in Münster, Germany. Last week, we got in touch with Louisa to get an inside scoop on the event.


Let Us Introduce You to our ESR, Louisa Wallace!

Within OrganoVIR, Louisa studies the interactions between mucus and respiratory viruses, focusing predominantly on influenza A viruses (IAVs). This year, Louisa attended the International Influenza Meeting with her group from Utrecht University to present some of her research findings on an international stage. At the event, she presented her research poster, ‘Neuraminidase-dependent entry of influenza A virus is determined by hemagglutinin receptor-binding specificity’, a project in which she aims to dissect the interplay between IAV hemagglutinin, neuraminidase, and (decoy) receptors and analyzes the importance of neuraminidase activity for virus entry in relation to hemagglutinin specificity, cell receptor repertoire, and the presence of mucus.


The International Influenza Meeting through Louisa’s Eyes

“I was very excited to attend this meeting not only because it would be my first time visiting Germany and the beautiful city of Münster, but also because I was excited to hear about novel influenza research from top virologists, and in person too!” Louisa enthusiastically shared with us. The three-day event was held during a sunny weekend at the Schloss Münster that stands adjacent to the botanic gardens (Botanischer Garten der Westfälischen Wilhelms) which was not only a stunning location to visit but also a popular place to walk off your lunch after a morning packed full of research talks. 

At the event, there were plenty of talks and posters from various presenters ranging from Ph.D. researchers to Professors. Given her research background in airway epithelial air-liquid interface culture systems of human and other animal species, one of the talks that intrigued Louisa was that of a Ph.D. researcher from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover who has set up airway organoids derived from the bat respiratory tract to study the susceptibility to infection by various influenza viruses.


Scientists on the Dance Floor: A Lab Tradition 

Aside from the scientific aspect of the event, there were also fun-packed social evening activities that the participants can attend after a fruitful day of talks and presentations. Abiding in their lab’s tradition, Louisa and her colleagues invited their supervisor to join in on their dance floor antics.

“Overall, it was a great experience and an amazing opportunity to make new connections, hear about some cutting-edge influenza virus research, and gain inspiration – and that leaves me invigorated and motivated to get back to the laboratory to start some new experiments!”