Thursday, August 28, 2008

IPS: A Recap

It’s been too long since I last updated, but I’ve been really busy not only traveling but preparing for the trip.

I spent the early part of August attending The International Primatological Society Congress. I helped organize the last congress, 2 years ago in Uganda, and I was really keen to go and reunite with people that I hadn’t seen since.

The funny part was, the conference ended up being more successful thanks to people I hadn’t met before than people I had!

I’ve been feeling much more confident since the conference, since there was certainly some doubt in mind regarding the complete novelty of my research -- there were no published papers, or abstracts, or reports on my subject to base my protocols on. What would happen if I used the wrong sample preservation techniques? All puns aside, but that would be really shitty!

Had I only known the real boon of the conference would be meeting people I’d never met before!

Most importantly, I met Tom Gillespie, who is pretty much the foremost primate parasitologist. I got a chance to see some of the work he’d done but not yet published at the periphery of the Goualuogo Triangle -- a chimpanzee study site in the Republic of Congo that is right next to several logging concessions.

How relieving to see that I wasn’t completely plowing ahead with no guidance, and Tom offered to set me up with a great set of collection protocols for my fecal samples that he and his colleague developed while collecting in RoC.

Wooo! I also spoke with a Dr. Leslie Knapp, who works on genetic testing of the Bili chimpanzees (the same chimpanzees I will be testing). She is hoping to get access to my samples in order to do genetic analysis on them as well, since her current sample size is from a small collection of hair and bones.

I think too one of the most exciting parts too was the legitimacy I felt -- my own research, finally, after years of planning, with real potential and the excitement of not only myself but my PEERS behind it!

I wish that I had been able to stay for the whole conference, but I’d promised Adam to be back in the States for his second degree black belt exam. And, since I was traveling internationally, I had to leave myself plenty of time to get back.

He did eventually decide not to test, but I believe that the time I spent at IPS was well-served. And of course, hanging with old friends from the last IPS, like Debby, Chris Golden, Lillian, and Alex (who I worked with all the way back in 2002 when I was in Kenya with Blue Monkeys).

I’m still working towards finishing my IRB proposal, and getting my supplies ready, and I still need to go over the collection protocol.

There is so much to do, yet!

No comments: