AIMS MEETING - 5th Edition | March 2014
This year the AIMS Meeting celebrated its fifth edition and the Organizing Committee could not be more proud of this fact. With a revamped team, work started in June last year. There were 9 months of hard work, learning and camaraderie, which in the end gave us the feeling of accomplishment.
On Thursday 6 March, we opened the check-in with about 400 registered participants, of whom about 50 were foreigners. The pre-courses – six sets of planned activities with a view to having better and more diverse academic, scientific and personal training - were held in the afternoon. We repeated the success formula with Saving Babies, held at D. Estefânia Hospital, but we added other ingredients: Interventional Cardiology, Food for the Brain, Effective Communication, How to Build a Scientific Poster, and Positive Conflict Resolution are just a few examples.
Friday was the official start of the AIMS Meeting. On the first day of the conference, we were honoured to have the presence of Professor João Lobo Antunes and Professor Miguel Castanho at the opening session, a session where we wanted to clarify the mission of this project, consolidated in this issue – more than an area for learning and communicating in science, the “AIMS Meeting as an ambition to inspire, to show what is done best in Medicine and to shape a better future”. This was followed by the keynote session of Maria Mota, who shared her trail of success in science.
“War on Cancer” was the module proposed for this first day, and through the voices of those who have made undeniable progress in Oncobiology research, the following topics were addressed: immunotherapy for cancer (Maria Themeli, USA), oncolytic viruses (John Bell, CA) and early detection of cancer cells (Tiago Rodrigues, UK). The first “Choose Session”, ex-líbris of this event, took place in the early afternoon, and students participated in one of twenty four workshops of their choice. This session, long-awaited by the participants, brought together a range of activities that enable practice and improvement of practical skills, benefitting from the total availability of dozens of doctors and professors of our faculty, who share their time, knowledge and experience pro bono.
In the late afternoon after the poster sessions, and for the first time in the history of the AIMS Meeting, we organized the International Welcome Party at the University Stadium, which provided a unique occasion for conviviality. The strong adhesion by both our colleagues and our guests far exceeded our expectations and demonstrated that informal and relaxed moments can be part of scientific meetings.
Vision(ary) Medicine marked the second day of the conference, and was preceded by a keynote lecture by Rowan Gillies, the youngest president ever of Doctors Without Borders. In the morning there were debates about choroidal neovascularization (Rufino Silva, PT), several viewpoints regarding corneal transplantation were advanced (António Limão, PT) and the topic of optogenetics was addressed (Michael Hausser, UK). The second round of workshops in another Choose Session took place in the afternoon. Given that our aim is also to give students who combine the degree with research a voice by recognizing and rewarding their work, there was a plenary session and two (basic and clinic) parallel oral sessions to present the best research projects. It is always a tense moment, but it makes us very happy to see our colleagues presenting papers of high quality of projects developed over months.
However, the day did not end here. There was time for a last session of the Charity Programme, which aims to sow the seed of volunteerism in our participants, inviting them to become familiar with, and be involved, for one night, in the work of organizations such as AMI, CASA, CVP and LBV.
Sunday began with keynote speaker Sebastian Jessberger, who addressed the future of neural stem cells. This was followed by the last module of the conference – “Innovation in Medicine”. Heart valves engineering (Jonathan Butcher, USA), radiosurgery (Maria Begoña Cattoni, PT) and the application of new materials in prosthetics (Arjan Buis, UK) were topics that generated great interest among participants. As this was the last day of the conference, we spent the afternoon doing activities different from usual ones, such as the “Science Speed Dating”, which was a fantastic opportunity to have an informal talk with some speakers, researchers and doctors from various specialties. The scientific and clinical competitions, a novelty in this edition, were held at the same time, followed by the cultural programme in the evening, with thematic guided tours to the historic city centre.
The conference closing dinner was held on Sunday night. Along the special participation of the AEFML choir, the awards for best research works and for best pairs in the competitions were attributed. Interestingly, only students from our university won prizes, attesting their merit and hard work, combined with the necessary dose of motivation. Catarina Vale won the Gulbenkian Prize, worth € 2000 and Marta Bento and João Serôdio were the winners of the Servier Prizes, worth € 500 each. We believe that these prizes are important contributions to enable them to continue their research. With regard to the competitions, Daryna Lavriv and Catarina Melita came first in the scientific competition and the pair Catarina Jacinto Correia and Ricardo Rios Crespo won the clinical competition. Our sincere congratulations to all!
And so the fifth edition of the AIMS Meeting came to an end. This is just a review of what happened, since much more could be said about a project that, rather than just an event, is a learning path where dreams and desires come face to face with reality. We worked to enable one of the best conferences of medical students in Portugal and in the end, having acknowledged what we did well and not so well, we believe that we have achieved it. We know that all our efforts left an indelible mark on us and also on all those who have accepted our invitation and participated in the organization of the AIMS Meeting. Therefore, we cannot fail to mention the recognition and support of the European Parliament, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon.
With open arms, we thank all those who made possible the fifth edition of the AIMS Meeting. See you soon!
The Organizing Committee of the 5th AIMS Meeting
Ana Rita Constante, Andreia Bilé Silva, Beatriz Costeira, Beatriz Madureira, Bernardo Vasconcelos Pimentel, Carolina Cardoso, Diana Silva, Diogo Maia e Silva, Gabriel Matos, Liliana Sousa Nanji, Maria Tavares de Pina, Mariana Constante, Mariana Ferreira Santos, Marta Ribeiro, Nelson Descalço, Sandra Duque Maurício, Sofia Costa e Silva