Wilson Tavares, PhD student from VBD-GHTM Research Group, received an “ASTMH Travel Award” in the USA and achieved recognition for “Best Oral Presentation” in Germany.
Wilson Tavares is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program for Biomedical Sciences at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (IHMT), University NOVA de Lisboa (UNL). He is mentored by Prof. Joana Carneiro da Silva, from the Institute for Genome Sciences in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore, USA, and is co-mentored by Dr. Ana Paula Arez, of the IHMT, NOVA. Wilson is the recipient of a Ph.D. fellowship from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) (PRT/BD/154596/2022) through the Ciência LP UNESCO Center. He was selected as one of 62 graduate students worldwide to be granted the Travel Award for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual Meeting. This award, financially supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, facilitated his participation in the conference held in Chicago from October 18 to 22, 2023. Additionally, he attended the 16th International Conference on Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases (MEEGID XVI), organized by the Elsevier, in Dresden, Germany, from November 14 to 17, 2023. Wilson was chosen to present a poster at the ASTMH and deliver an oral presentation at the MEEGID, both of which were centered on a segment of his Ph.D. research titled “Plasmodium falciparum population structure in southwestern Africa, using whole-genome sequence data: Preliminary genome-wide sequence data from Angola.”
ASTMH primarily focuses on “advancing scientific research, promoting education, encouraging collaboration and communication, supporting global health initiatives, and advocating for policies aimed at preventing and controlling tropical diseases while enhancing overall global health”. Wilson shares some notable highlights from the Chicago meeting. “I took advantage of career development sessions, gaining advice from experienced professionals. Additionally, I gained valuable insights through symposia that offered in-depth discussions on topics relevant to my area of interest, particularly in the field of parasite genomics. These highlights made the Chicago meeting a valuable experience, providing opportunities for learning and professional growth.”
Moreover, the main objective of the MEEGID is to gain “insights into the dynamics of infectious diseases, their transmission patterns, and the genetic factors influencing their evolution”. Wilson Tavares describes his experience at the MEEGID as “enriching”. “The networking opportunities were noteworthy, allowing me to share experiences with scientists worldwide. Additionally, the knowledge gained from speakers utilizing similar bioinformatics tools to those employed in my PhD project were particularly valuable. Furthermore, being awarded the prize for the “Best Oral Presentation by a Student” in my first attempt was a significant honor. As a PhD student from the VBD-GHTM Research group, I express my gratitude for the financial support provided by GHTM, which made these enriching experiences possible.”
Finally, Wilson Tavares emphasizes, “I highly recommend students and young researchers to consider applying for ASTMH Travel Award. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect with global scientific advancements, receive valuable feedback, and enhance professional growth at conferences. Embracing this opportunity can truly open doors to a world of knowledge and collaboration.”