• Patricia Thomas

The Patient and the Medic

North European Young Diabetologists Meeting

Following on from my Pint of Science Presentation next it was off to Coventry for the North European Young Diabetologists meeting. This conference began over 30 years ago as the Anglo-Dutch-Danish meeting. Medical doctors come together from England, the Netherlands and Denmark to discuss their research and form international collaborations, but now it has also been opened up to the basic sciences. Often as a basic scientist (a researcher that looks at the cells of an individual rather than the whole organism) it is easy to forget that the cells we work on are normally attached to a whole organism, thereby adding more chemicals than those just present in a petri dish. My work focuses on only one cell type, the beta cells of the pancreas. Learning about fat, brain, liver and stomach cells and how they and their full tissue contribute towards diabetes progression and treatment was extremely beneficial for delivering a complete picture. It was also interesting hearing about patient care strategies and current difficulties that patients are facing. To a basic scientists this is important to know. We research diabetes treatments to improve the quality of life of these individuals. Knowing what treatments they require is vital so that diabetes research can be patient led and tailored to their needs. I also made contacts with scientists wrestling with the same experimental difficulties as myself and we exchanged email addresses so that we could face them together. I delivered a 20 minute presentation which was well received and the questions that arose from it gave me food for thought as to areas of my work that I may be overlooking. So overall a successful conference – knowing what patients require, returning with new international friends, obtaining new protocols for more effective results, and of course gaining a couple of pounds from the wonderful cuisine that we were served. Providing a presentation which was accessible to both medics and scientists was tough but a great experience which I hope to repeat by attending the meeting next year.

So at the end of my busy week I have a great sense of satisfaction of a job well done. However I am excited to don my white coat and get back into the lab. A scientist’s work is never done………. but what a fun job!




4th Floor, RILD Building, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW