International Society for Serotonin Research
Keasbey Travel Fund Report – Aurelija Ippolito (2021, DPhil Pharmacology)
My name is Aurelija Ippolito and I am a second year DPhil student in Pharmacology. I recently had the opportunity to visit Cancun, Mexico for the 2023 ISSR (International Society for Serotonin Research) conference, thanks to a very generous donation from the University College Keasbey Grant.
After arriving in Cancun with another DPhil student from my lab, we promptly took another flight to Oaxaca to explore this city for a few days before the start of the conference. Oaxaca city was so incredibly rich in colour and culture, with an immensely friendly population and plenty of lovely restaurants, bars and cafes. Aside from the beautiful cathedrals dotted around the city, a highlight of our stay was a street art tour through one of the most colourful neighbourhoods in the city, given by a local artist. During this, we learned of the stories behind some of the stunning murals that brighten the city walls and through this, attained a deeper understanding of Oaxacan traditions and culture. Another highlight of our stay in Oaxaca was a day trip to some areas of Oaxaca state outside the city. We were taken to a village, Teotitlan del Valle, that specialised in traditional Mexican weaving as well as the archaeological site of Mitla, the calcified waterfalls of Hierve el Agua and a local Mezcal brewery. We finished our stay in Oaxaca very satisfied to have seen such a vibrant part of Mexico.
We next flew back to Cancun where the conference began. For the three days of conference, talks were given on all aspects of serotonin research including many in the realm of my area of research on psychedelics. I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to present my research in the form of a poster, ‘Investigation of the biased signalling properties of psychedelic drugs at the human 5-HT2A receptor’. Through discussion with other psychedelic researchers, I was able to present my ideas and gain insight into other aspects of my area of research. I returned home from the conference full of ideas about future experiments that I am really excited to pursue! Aside from the excellent scientific presentations, there was great opportunity for networking at the conference and I was able to make connections with PhD students throughout North America and Europe, alongside meeting researchers whose papers have been central to my own research.
Overall, the ISSR 2023 conference was an incredibly insightful trip and I am so grateful to the University College travel grant that I was awarded that made this trip possible!
Published: 3 August 2023