Anne Carroll recently attended the VTEC 2015 Conference held in Boston, USA. In the article below, she gives an overview of her visit. Funding for this visit was provided under the safefood Training & Mobility Programme. More information on the programme available here.
I have been working at the VTEC reference laboratory, Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin since 2002. Initially my role was to develop a molecular diagnostic service for VTEC from faecal specimens. Over the years the service has grown and we are now accredited under ISO17025 and ISO15189 for food, water, environmental and clinical specimens.
Aims & Objectives of Visit
The aim of attending this conference was to allow me to gain knowledge of VTEC research and epidemiological trends internationally, to disseminate this information locally/nationally and to facilitate collaborations with international experts and allow discussions on the current situation of VTEC in Ireland, and to present a poster 'Laboratory surveillance of VTEC in Ireland: A thirteen year review of trends'
Purpose & Relevance
This international conference had speakers from food, agriculture and clinical areas. As such there was extensive knowledge to be gained from attending. It also provided opportunities to build collaborations with international colleagues, thus strengthening our knowledge in VTEC including in the food safety sector.
I attended talks on clinical, food, water, agriculture and environmental areas of VTEC, including characterisation of VTEC by whole genome sequencing. I presented a poster 'Laboratory- surveillance of VTEC in Ireland: A thirteen year review of trends'. The poster was very well received with lots of questions. I had a meeting with colleagues from Public Health England and the Scottish E. coli Reference laboratory to setup collaboration on Whole Genome Sequencing.
Transfer of Knowledge
I will make a presentation here in the VTEC-Reference Laboratory in the next few weeks to disseminate the major points that I learned from attendance at the conference.
Added Value and Benefits of Visit
Knowledge of new techniques such as Whole Genome Sequencing will be put into practice in the next 2 months when we start WGS here in the laboratory. Additionally, contacts made at the conference will be further explored to allow us access to Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) bioinformatics platforms in the UK.
Conclusions & Recommendations
Attendance at the international VTEC conference has been very beneficial for the VTEC Reference Laboratory and therefore for clinical, food, water and environmental detection, characterisation and management of VTEC in Ireland. Thank you to safefood for their support.