Showing posts with label Ankara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ankara. Show all posts

Monday, June 8, 2015

Memories from 1st International Blastocystis Symposium

I'm going to release a tsunami of photos from the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium, hoping that they will help everyone involved commemorate this fantastic event but also in order to share a few moments with the rest of the 'Blastocystis community'.

Dr Funda Dogruman-Al giving her opening remarks.

In his opening lecture, Dr Graham Clark summarised the advances in Blastocystis research over the past century.

Coffee break outside the plenary room.

Graham and me with Iranian delegates, including Dr Elham Razmjou.

Drs Shashiraja Padukone and Chen-Chieh Liao trying out the local ney flutes...

Dr Hisao Yoshikawa enjoying a bit of masterclass...

Funda with her wonderful students and staff who helped making it all happen.

During coffee breaks, we had time to enjoy a variety of art exhibitions.

Dr Kevin Tan busy with his camera as usual!

Mesmerising "Turkish Delight"...

Funda and me busy handing out awards...

Chen-Chieh Liao receives the prize for the third-best poster, the book 'Blastocystis - pathogen or passenger', from Dr Hisao Yoshikawa, one of the editors.

Erdogan Malatyali won the prize for the best oral presentation.

I was very honoured to receive a plate from Prof Dr Sacit Turanli.

Some of the delegates, members of the arrangement committee, staff and students.

Funda and me with Dr Özgür Kurt and Funda's fantastic students.

The Clark couple with Funda, Özgür, and Funda's students.

Drs Kevin Tan, Javed Jakoob, Philippe Poirier, Hisao Yoshikawa together with Funda and her students.

A great couple in Turkish microbiology: Drs Özgür Kurt and Funda Dogruman-Al.

The six prize winners (please see previous blog post for names and affiliations).

Funda Dogruman-Al teaching Blastocystis diagnostic methods at the pre-Symposium workshop...

The workshop included both practicals...

... and theoreticals.

Some of the workshop participants.

Turkish food is probably palatable to most ethnicities...

The mandatory Turkish coffee did not let us down!

We were absolutely spoiled with good food and drink along the way... I clearly remember how it was pouring down outside!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

This Month in Blastocystis Research (MAY 2015)

Words cannot describe my gratitude for being part of the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium, which was seen through to marvelous success by Dr Funda Dogruman-Al, her colleagues and students, her professional arrangement committee and the scientific committee, made up by Dr Graham Clark, Dr Kevin Tan, Dr Hisao Yoshikawa, Professor Ibrahim Dogan, Funda Dogruman-Al, and myself.

Funda Dogruman-Al in the middle flanked by some of the delegates outside Gazi Hastanesi.

A total of 70 delegates had registered, comprising 37 national and 33 international attendees. Countries represented included Australia, Japan, Russia, China, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Spain, France, Denmark, UK, USA, and Mexico.

Some of the delegates gathering before the gala dinner.

A presymposium workshop taking place the day before the launching of the actual symposium focussed on methods for diagnosis and molecular epidemiological studies of Blastocystis.

The two-day symposium included 13 half-hour lectures, 10 shorter oral presentations, and 27 posters.

Lectures were given by Dr Graham Clark (one of his three talks was on behalf on Prof Andrew Roger and post doc Laura Eme), Dr Kevin Tan, Dr Hisao Yoshikawa, Dr Philippe Poirier, Dr Özgür Kurt, Dr Javed Jakoob, Dr Funda Dogruman-Al, and myself, and covered updates on genomics, cell biology, host-parasite interactions, genetic diversity, epidemiology, clinical significance, treatment, and methods used for detection and molecular characterisation.

We were spoilt with lots of 'Turkish Delight': Here are some of the dancers performing at the gala dinner.

There were six prizes in total; three for the best oral presentations and three for the best posters. Prize money was donated by Elsevier.

The prize winners were as follows: 

Oral presentations:
1st Prize: Erdogan Malatyali, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey
2nd Prize: Sitara SR Ajjampur, National University of Singapore, Singapore
3rd Prize: Unaiza Parkar, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia

Poster presentations:
1st Prize:  John Anthony Yason, National University of Singapore, Singapore
2nd Prize: Joel Martinez-Ocana, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, Mexico
3rd Prize: Chen-Chieh Liao, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

Over the next few months, original manuscripts – seminal papers and reviews – will be developed for a special issue on Blastocystis in of Parasitology International to mark the event.

An important landmark in Blastocystis history has been made, and we are already looking into our chances of developing the 2nd International Blastocystis Symposium, which may be in 2017.

A huge THANK YOU to Funda for all her efforts, and KUDOS to all contributors for making this such a fantastic event!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Expected Social/Cultural Activities at 1st International Blastocystis Symposium

A lot of thrilling activities and ideas are in the making for the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium in Ankara later this month (!

For instance, the social programme is expected to include the following:

1) Performances of Turkish classical music and folk music by students from Gazi University State Conservatory of Turkish Music at the opening and closing ceremonies
2) Needle work exhibition
3) Traditional Turkish arts exhibition
4) Glass work workshop
5) Marbling workshop
6) Gilding workshop 
7) Reed flute (‘ney’) contest

This should provide the delegates with lots of opportunity to meet different branches of Turkish culture.

Hence, the ceremonies + coffee breaks and lunches will be busy and fun! For the Gala Dinner we are currently trying to engage with two different folk dancer teams from Gazi University… and...(suspense!)...  there might be a chance the Gala Dinner will be free of charge for all participants! Stay tuned!

1st International Blastocystis Symposium - Accommodation Funding!

We are pleased to announce that "Society for General Microbiology" ( is going to fund two nights of accommodation for 40 young researchers (below 40 years old) attending the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium (

Those who apply with a presentation and with no other funding will have priority in application.

Please inform your other colleagues who are interested in Blastocystis research about this important news.

(Please note: Applications should be sent to alfunda[at]

Looking forward to seeing you in Ankara...

Unstained Blastocystis. Courtesy of Dr Marianne Lebbad.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Launch of Official Website for 1st International Blastocystis Symposium.

We are now able to introduce the official website for The 1st International Blastocystis Symposium in May 2015, in Ankara, Turkey. Please check it out! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blastocystis Conference Website Launched!

I have the pleasure of introducing the official website for the 1st International Blastocystis Symposium scheduled for the 28-29 May, 2015, in Ankara, Turkey.

Please go to to visit and bookmark the page and to subscribe to updates via email or rss.

We'll be back shortly on the site with updates on the scientific committee, the venue, and how to submit abstracts (including deadline).

Please share. Thanks.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Announcement of The 1st International Blastocystis Symposium

It is a pleasure for me to be able to announce that Dr. Funda Dogruman-Al and I have started planning

'The 1st International Blastocystis Symposium' 

to be held in Ankara, May 28-29 in 2015 under the auspices of Gazi University, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.

We have received very positive responses so far from quite a few of the leading scientists in Blastocystis research expressing their interest in the symposium, and obviously our goal is to be able to raise significant and relevant funding to cover at least some of the expenses related to the meeting. Already, a total of € 6,000 has been raised, but we hope for a lot more.

It may seem like a long time ahead, but we believe that by starting this early, we should stand a fair chance of arranging and completing a meeting that will enable a strengthening of global cooperative networks so as to increase the sharing of ideas, data, expertise, and best practices in this field to the mutual benefit of the researchers and organisations involved. 

The past few years have seen a substantial surge in Blastocystis research in many areas, and so the main foci of this symposium will be:
  • Diagnosis and molecular characterisation
  • Epidemiology
  • Evolutionary biology and advances in genomics
  • Intestinal ecology
  • Clinical significance including potential relationship to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
The symposium will also serve as an initial forum to address and discuss critical questions including: 
  • What is the evidence of Blastocystis pathogenicity?
  • If Blastocystis may be pathogenic, what then are the factors involved? Which mechanisms could potentially be involved in the development of disease?
  • Could specific host factors be responsible for the development of symptomatic Blastocystis infections, and if so, how can these be identified?
  • How can Blastocystis infections be controlled?
  • Is there any correlation between the human intestinal microbiota and Blastocystis carriage?
  • How can novel technology and multi-disciplinary approaches assist in answering fundamental questions concerning the clinical significance of Blastocystis?
We hope that the symposium will attract not only experts on Blastocystis, but also biologists and medical doctors in the fields of clinical microbiology, infectious diseases, gastroenterology, evolutionary biology, and microbial ecology. Certainly, those who have expressed interest so far cover a wide spectrum of these research areas.